[Update: Joe Paterno has now died, 24 hours after a false announcement was made by a student website and CBS News.
For news of Paterno’s death, see the Centre Daily News from State College, PA. See below for the story of Saturday’s false report.]
CBS News has apologized to the family of Joe Paterno for reporting last night that Paterno had died.
CBS says it failed to verify its original report, based on a tweet from a Penn State student publication called Onward State:
Penn State student website Onward State has reported that Penn State players were notified of longtime head coach Joe Paterno’s passing via email, and CBSSports.com went on this report. Paterno, 85, had been receiving chemotherapy as part of his treatment for lung cancer.However, Paterno family spokesperson Dan McGinn told a New York Times reporter that the report of Paterno’s demise is “absolutely not true,” and Jay Paterno tweeted that his father “continues to fight.” Onward State has since retracted their report.
The managing editor of Onward State, Devon Edwards, has stepped down because of the gaffe.
However, Joe Paterno does seem to be in dire straits. He’s having a tough time with treatments for lung cancer and also trying to recover from a broken pelvis. His lawyer said earlier Saturday that Paterno had “experienced further health complications” and that “doctors have now characterized his status as serious.”
Paterno was fired in December after 61 years as a football coach at Penn State, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse allegations.
See our biography of Joe Paterno »