The health of Joe Paterno, whose glittering career as Penn State's football coach was tainted by a child sex abuse scandal, has taken a turn for the worse and he is in serious condition, according to the family spokesman.
Paterno's wife, Suzanne Paterno, summoned close friends and longtime staff members Saturday afternoon to the State College hospital where Paterno has been undergoing treatments since last weekend, a source told the Citizen's Voice newspaper of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Paterno wanted to see them and say a final goodbye, the coach's wife told one of the staff members, the source said.
After the report, Paterno family's spokesman Dan McGinn released a statement saying: "Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications. 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."
Hundreds of students gathered around the bronze statue of Paterno on the Penn State campus last night, lighting candles and placing blue and white baseball hats at the foot of the statue.
Two of Paterno's sons, Scott and Jay Paterno, tweeted around 10 pm that their father was "still fighting."
Jay Paterno wrote, "Drove by students at the Joe statue. Just told my Dad about all the love & support-inspiring him."
Shortly after his dismissal from Penn State on Nov. 9, 2011, Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer and broke his hip.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments have weakened Paterno, robbing him of his hair and his once-booming voice.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, he appeared frail, wearing a wig and speaking in a whisper. He canceled public appearances following the interview because of his failing health, according to family members.