Joe Paterno in Serious Condition

01/21/2012 at 07:00 AM EST

Joe Paterno - Lung Cancer
Joe Paterno
Gene Puskar/AP
Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno is listed in serious condition after suffering complications in his battle with lung cancer, says a family spokesman.

Paterno, 85, began hospital treatment for the disease on Jan. 13, after being diagnosed in November. Around 9 p.m. Jan. 21, erroneous reports circulated that Paterno had died, prompting one of the coach's sons to Tweet, "Joe is continuing to fight."

On campus, the dark stadium was playing football videos, seemingly in "JoePa"'s honor, and people were flooding the area where his statue stands, despite freezing temperatures. Tears flowed.

"Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications," spokesman Dan McGinn told the Associated Press on Saturday. "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," McGinn added.

Before being hospitalized Paterno's impressive 46-year career as head coach ended as a result of a sex-abuse scandal allegedly involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

Reporting by RENNIE DYBALL

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