Joe Paterno has been diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer, his family said today in a statement nine days after the 84-year-old football coach was fired by Penn State University in connection with a child sex-abuse scandal.
Paterno is undergoing treatment and his doctors are optimistic that he will make a full recovery, his son Scott said today in an e-mailed statement.
The elder Paterno was fired on Nov. 9 for his handling of child molestation charges against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, ending 46 years as coach of the Nittany Lions that produced a top-level college-record 409 victories.
“This is a deeply personal matter for my parents, and we simply ask that his privacy be respected as he proceeds with treatment,” Scott Paterno said in the statement.
Paterno was diagnosed last weekend during a follow-up visit to his doctor for a bronchial illness, according to the statement.
Sandusky, 67, is charged with 40 counts related to child abuse. Paterno and former university president Graham B. Spanier, 63, were fired over their actions in connection with Sandusky’s alleged behavior. Neither Paterno nor Spanier is charged in the case.