Joe Paterno, the man who for decades was synonymous with the powerhouse Penn State football program, is reportedly in declining health. Onward State, the student-run Penn State website, reported on Saturday that Paterno had been taken off his respirator that morning, according to a source close to the family. Further, a report by Tom McAndrew of Blue White Illustrated indicates that Paterno's extended family has been summoned to the hospital.
If those reports are true, Paterno likely has, at best, a matter of days to live. It may be even shorter than that, as Mike Sisak of the Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre is reporting that Paterno is "near death."
It was only a week ago that Paterno gave his first interview since his November firing at the height of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. In it, interviewer Sally Jenkins noted that Paterno was wheelchair-bound, wearing a wig, and reduced to whispers due to his battle with lung cancer. Further, Paterno is 85, and the sad fact is that there just aren't many 85-year-old men who can begin and win a fight with a disease like lung cancer. Still, Jenkins also noted that Paterno remained sharp, and his familiar tone and personality are evident in the interview snippets that were posted online.
CBSSports.com will provide more details as they become available, as this is a developing situation.