Joe Paterno seriously ill

Former Penn State college football coach Joe Paterno is gravely ill and his wife Sue has asked family and friends to come to the hospital because the former coach wanted to say his final goodbyes.

“Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications,” family spokesman Dan McGinn said in a brief statement Saturday to The Associated Press. “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.”

The 85-year-old Paterno has been in the hospital since Jan. 13 for observation for what his family had called minor complications from cancer treatments.

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.

Paterno was diagnosed with cancer in November, days after getting ousted as head coach in the aftermath of the child sex abuse charges against former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

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