Posted by Adam Jacobi
Joe Paterno, the man who for decades was synonymous with the powerhouse Penn State football program, is reportedly in declining health. Onward State, the student-run Penn State website, reported on Saturday that Paterno had been taken off his respirator that morning, according to a source close to the family. Further, a report by Tom McAndrew of Blue White Illustrated indicates that Paterno's extended family has been summoned to the hospital.
If those reports are true, Paterno likely has, at best, a matter of days to live. It may be even shorter than that, as Mike Sisak of the Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre is reporting that Paterno is "near death."
"Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications," said Paterno family spokesman Dan McGinn. "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."
It was only a week ago that Paterno gave his first interview since his November firing at the height of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. In it, interviewer Sally Jenkins noted that Paterno was wheelchair-bound, wearing a wig, and reduced to whispers due to his battle with lung cancer. Further, Paterno is 85, and most people that age aren't able to begin and win a fight with a disease like lung cancer. Still, Jenkins also noted that Paterno remained sharp, and his familiar tone and personality are evident in the interview snippets that were posted online.
CBSSports.com will provide more details as they become available, as this is a developing situation.