Transcript for Joe Paterno Dies of Cancer at Age 85
Death of legendary Penn State football coach Joseph Paterno who died of lung cancer today at the age of 85. From the moment the news broke people gathered there on campus visiting the famous statue honoring Paterno many placing flowers or saying a prayer. ABC's David Curley is at Penn State tonight with more on the life and -- -- tested legacy of Joseph Paterno. He was born Joseph Vincent Paterno in Brooklyn 1946. But Penn State and the world came to know him simply as Joseph -- Joseph Paterno as a record breaking run as head coach of the Nittany Lions began in 1966. And he quickly distinguished himself with his team's winning ways on the gridiron. And his players' academic success off the field. Victory with honor was his motto and it wasn't long before the NFL took notice but Paterno who was becoming a household name stayed put in happy valley. -- -- hood I felt this is where I would be happy here. And then I could do more good. The victories and the owner -- season after season finally reaching an unparalleled 409 wins. Two national titles. And more than four million dollars donated to the university but Paterno and his wife sue and Paterno was immortalized with that larger than life bronze statue outside beaver stadium in state college but -- -- accomplishments were dramatically eclipsed in November of 2011. When his former assisting coach Jerry sandusky. Was arrested on child sex abuse charges and explosive national scandal. -- Paterno might have known of the abuse but never went to police. The revelations toppled the icon in a matter of days. Joseph Paterno is no longer the head football coach. The effective immediately. His abrupt firing triggered an outcry on campus angry students rioted and yeah. -- and treated like -- Paterno appealed for cool and Begin to needs students to hit the books. In the midst of the turmoil word came -- Paterno had another battle on his hands lung cancer two months after the scandal broke his health declining. The former coach finally broke his silence giving his first interview to the Washington Post he described his reaction when first told of the abuse allegations. Cool and -- periods. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Did you guys -- you decide independent. I have never had to it was too. Unsure of how to handle the situation. If I'm thinking dvd for night. When -- And I thought was important. In the end the interview did little to settle the debate over return -- role in the scandal. A legend target but -- coach still beloved by so many. And that statue on campus. A wall along it reads Joseph Vincent Paterno educator coach humanitarian. And it's inscribed with his own words. They asked me what I'd like written about me when I'm gone. I hope they -- -- made Penn State a better place not just that I was a good football coach. And moments after the announcement we watched as supporters arrived here at the statue right behind us leaving those mementos you mentioned we talked to many of them and they admit. The Joseph Paterno is legacy was tarnished by one mistake they say. But that his legacy will -- to be treated well by history. One other note David the investigation continues a prosecutor says he is not close at that could mean more defendants more victims potentially already Jerry sandusky. And two school officials face criminal charges.
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