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Joe Paterno's health continues to decline

January 21, 2012 |  4:04 pm

Joe Paterno on Jan. 12 at his home in State College, Pa.
Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach who was fired in November in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, is now in serious condition as he battles lung cancer, according to a statement the family released Saturday.

Paterno, 85, has been hospitalized since Jan. 13 for treatment of minor complications from his cancer treatments, the family said.

Other reports, citing unnamed sources, have said that Paterno has been removed from his respirator.

“Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications,” spokesman Dan McGinn said in a brief statement 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,” he said.

News of Paterno's battle against lung cancer came only days after he was fired.

-- Dan Loumena

Photo: Joe Paterno at his home in State College, Pa., on Jan. 12. Credit: John McDonnell / Associated Press