Dead at 85
1/22/2012 7:22 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Joe Paterno -- the legendary former football coach at Penn State University -- died this morning at the age of 85 ... this according to his family.
His family released a statement that reads, "He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community."
The front page of the website for the Penn State athletic department was updated with simply a picture of Paterno (see below).
Jerry Sandusky, the longtime assistant coach facing sexual abuse allegations that led to Paterno's dismissal at Penn State, called his death a sad day ... and Paterno "had the courage to practice what he preached" about toughness, hard work and clean competition.
Paterno was the coach at Penn State for 46 years, until he was famously fired by the school last November following the sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky.
In November 2011, his son Scott announced Paterno had a treatable form of lung cancer.
JoePa, as he was known, holds the record for most victories by a Division I football coach with 409.
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