Report: Joe Paterno “Gravely Ill,’ Nearing Death

“Legendary former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is gravely ill and his family is rushing to State College to be by his side, his family has confirmed,” Harrisburg’s The Patriot-News is reporting.

The newspaper’s headline says Paterno is “nearing death.”

NPR has not independently confirmed just how serious Paterno’s condition is.

Paterno, 85, has lung cancer. He won more games than any other Division I football coach in history before being dismissed in November in the wake of the scandal involving a former assistant who is accused of sexually abusing young boys for more than a decade. Paterno was fired because of a grand jury report that said he had informed school officials about an alleged incident involving the former assistant, Jerry Sandusky, but had not followed through or otherwise alerted authorities.

We’ll update this post as the story develops.

Update at 9 p.m. ET: Students and others are gathering in State College, according to Onward State, the school’s “online news organization.”

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.