Paterno's health worsens
Doctors call his condition serious
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is in serious condition after experiencing health complications from lung cancer.
“Over the last few days, Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications,’’ family spokesman Dan McGinn said in a statement yesterday to the Associated Press. “His doctors have now characterized his status as serious. His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.’’
The 85-year-old Paterno has been in the hospital since Jan. 13 for what his family had called minor complications from cancer treatments. About 200 students and townspeople gathered last night in State College at a statue of Paterno. Some brought candles. The mood was somber, with no chanting or shouting.
Paterno’s son, Jay, tweeted, “Drove by students at the Joe statue. Just told my Dad about all the love & support--inspiring him.’’
Paterno was diagnosed with cancer in November, days after getting ousted as coach in the aftermath of the child sex abuse charges against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. It was Paterno’s second time in the hospital in a month. He is also recovering from a broken pelvis that required a weeklong stay to make it easier for cancer treatments. The injury forced him to spend most of the season coaching from the press box - until trustees dismissed him Nov. 9, four days after Sandusky was first charged.
Sandusky is out on bail and awaiting trial after denying the allegations. Paterno testified before a state grand jury investigating Sandusky. But school trustees voted unanimously to oust him anyway - even though Paterno had announced that morning he would retire at the end of the season - in part because Paterno did not report an allegation made in 2002 against Sandusky to authorities outside the university.
Paterno testified that he relayed the allegation told to him by graduate assistant Mike McQueary to a superior, and the information was passed to another school administrator who oversaw the campus police department.