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Longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, whose legacy as one of the most admired figures in college sports was tarnished by a child abuse scandal involving an assistant, died Sunday of lung cancer at the age of 85.
Paterno's family announced the news in a released statement:
"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."
Paterno was the winningest coach in major college football history, but his career ended unceremoniously in November when he was fired from his position as head coach in the wake of a sex scandal. The head coach came under fire for not contacting the police in 2002 after being told that a child had been molested by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
In a statement following Sandusky's arrest, Paterno expressed his deep regret at not doing more to deal with the allegations. "This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life," he said. "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."
Paterno leaves behind a wife, five children and 17 grandchildren.