Longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, the 85-year-old patriarch of the storied but wounded program, was gravely ill Saturday night, according to his family, and loved ones were rushing to his hospital bed in State College, Pa., in anticipation that his battle against lung cancer would soon be coming to an end.
1st UPDATE: 11:36 p.m. EST: Poynter takes a look at how the incorrect announcement of Mr. Paterno's death led to retractions and a resignation.
Despite media reports late Saturday night of Paterno’s death, his son, Jay, said through his personal Twitter account at 9:21 p.m. that Paterno “is continuing to fight.” Paterno remained connected to a ventilator, according to individuals close to Paterno’s family, and his family was weighing whether to take him off the ventilator on Sunday.
We likely will never learn the sources who suggested to Onward State that Mr. Paterno had passed away. Of course, there is no way to defend Onward State; the Website made a monumental error, and it's one that required the managing editor to resign.
However, and conjecture here might be terribly unfair, if you have ever known someone who died from cancer, then you know that a kind-of tipping point is reached and the medical community can do little for that person. I can speak from experience; my mother passed away almost six years ago, and the cancer that took her seemed to overtake her body within weeks. When you recognize that Mr. Paterno's family and closest friends are in the hospital with him, there is no need to ask why.
And I hope I am very wrong in guessing the answer.
ORIGINAL POST:...his health appears to be deteriorating.
The New York Times reports that Mr. Paterno was in serious condition on Saturday night (U.S. EST) following complications from his fight with lung cancer.
At 9:21 p.m. on Saturday, Paterno’s son Jay, the former Penn State quarterbacks coach, wrote on Twitter: “I appreciate the support and prayers. Joe is continuing to fight.”
The 85-year-old Paterno won 409 games, more than any coach in major college football.
Paterno, who was fired Nov. 9 in the wake of a child sexual abuse scandal at the university, has been in the hospital this week because of complications from chemotherapy. He is also recovering from a broken pelvis.
“Over the last few days, Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications,” his lawyer, Wick Sollers, said in a statement. “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.”This is not good. Here's to hoping that Mr. Paterno has one more win in him -- a victory over cancer.