Even as students and fans continue to hold vigils around Joe Paterno‘s statue outside of Beaver Stadium, the man for whom it honors continues the fight for his life.
According to the Washington Post‘s Dave Sheinen, with Sally Jenkins listed as a contributor to the report, the Paterno family is weighing whether to take the ex-Penn State football coach off a ventilator. The report is noteworthy as Jenkins was granted the first interview Paterno had given earlier this month.
The Post, citing family sources, goes on to write that Paterno’s wishes are to not “be kept alive through extreme artificial means.”
Paterno was hospitalized Jan. 13 — the same day his interview with Jenkins concluded, ironically — due to complications from the chemotherapy he was enduring in his battle against lung cancer, and has remained at the State College medical facility for the past nine days. Reports of Paterno’s death that surfaced late Saturday night were almost immediately debunked by the coach’s sons on Twitter.
While described as gravely ill, Paterno was reportedly awake and able to communicate with family and friends who had been summoned to the hospital due to his deteriorating condition. A family spokesperson acknowledged that Paterno had “experienced further health complications” and “his doctors have now characterized his status as serious.”
In a tweet posted to his Twitter account, Jay Paterno, the coach’s son and former Nittany Lions quarterbacks coach, mentioned the show of support his father had received since news broke of his worsening condition.
“Drove by students at the Joe statue. Just told my Dad about all the love & support–inspiring him.”
That tweet was preceded by one that said, in part, “Joe is continuing to fight.”