Joseph Vincent Paterno, the great man, the great coach, is gone.
He passed away this morning at 9:25. Metastatic small cell carcinoma of the lung is the official cause of death. His family announced his passing in an emotional statement just minutes after JoePa’s passing.
Here it is, in full:
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today. His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.
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.
He has been many things in his life – a soldier, scholar, mentor, coach, friend and father. To my mother he was and is her soul mate, and the last several weeks have shown the strength of their love. To his children and grandchildren he is a shining example of how to live a good, decent and honest life, a standard to which we aspire.
When he decided to forego a career in law and make coaching his vocation, his father Angelo had but one command: make an impact.
As the last 61 years have shown, Joe made an incredible impact. That impact has been felt and appreciated by our family in the form of thousands of letters and well wishes along with countless acts of kindness from people whose lives he touched. It is evident also in the thousands of successful student athletes who have gone on to multiply that impact as they spread out across the country.
And so he leaves us with a peaceful mind, comforted by his “living legacy” of five kids, 17 grandchildren, and hundreds of young men whose lives he changed in more ways than can begin to be counted.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests that donations be made to the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania or the Penn State-THON (The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon). ”
Current and former players flooded Twitter, leaving messages of sadness at Paternos passing, support for his family and memories of his life.
Several players posted the pictures they took with Paterno after tey announced their commitments to Penn State. Defensive end Eric Latimore posted a photograph of his diploma.
University president Dr. Rodney Erickson and the Board of Trustees, who fired Paterno on Nov. 9, issued a joint statement on Paterno’s passing.
“We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always. The University plans to honor him for his many contributions and to remember his remarkable life and legacy. We are all deeply saddened.”