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Joe Paterno, former Penn State coach, is still alive, family says

January 21, 2012 |  7:15 pm

Joe Paterno on the sidelines during a game in 2010
Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach who was fired in the wake of child sexual abuse allegations involving one of his former assistants, is still alive despite reports to the contrary, according to his family.

Paterno's family announced earlier in the day that he was in serious condition. Reports began circulating later in the evening that the 85-year-old had died.

His sons took to Twitter to say their father was still alive.

"I appreciate the support (and) prayers. Joe is continuing to fight," Jay Paterno tweeted.

During his tenure, Paterno built the Nittany Lions into a powerhouse program that won national titles in 1982 and '86. He guided Penn State to a record of 409-136-3, including 24-12-1 in bowl games, after taking over the program in 1966. He had been an assistant at Penn State from 1950-65.

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

“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."

ALSO:

Joe Paterno's health continues to decline

Paterno didn't know what to do with Sandusky information

-- Dan Loumena

Photo: Joe Paterno on the sidelines for a Penn State-Michigan State game at State College, Pa., in 2010. Credit: Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

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