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As head football coach at Pennsylvania State University, Joe Paterno was one of the most successful coaches in the history of collegiate football.
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Still, in the end, his thoughts were with Sandusky's alleged victims, not on his job. Paterno told the press, "I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief."
Paterno later explained that "I didn't know exactly how to handle it," referring to allegations of sexual abuse against Sandusky. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't turn out that way."
After leaving Penn State, Paterno began suffering health problems. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2011. While it was initially thought to be treatable, Paterno succumbed his illness two months later, on January 22, 2012, at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, Pennsylvania.
While scandal may have marred his final days as Penn State's coach, Paterno will also be remembered for developing the university's football program into a national powerhouse, and for preparing roughly 350 of his players for the NFL. Off the field, Paterno proved to be a strong supporter of the school in general, donating more than $4 million during his time there.
Paterno is survived by his wife, five children, and 17 grandchildren. In a statement, his family said: "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 ... He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community."
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