Joe Paterno During His Last Days: 'Doesn't Matter What People Think Of Me'

You may have seen people alleging former Penn St. Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno died of a broken heart, which is an odd thing to call lung cancer. He was also not somehow murdered by the school's board of trustees, as one PSU student alleged. As Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski chronicled by spending time with the coach during his final days, Paterno wasn't bitter about being fired by PSU for taking a passive role in the child rape tragedy surrounding former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

A quote from Paterno on his perspective as his end neared:

"In every life," he told me, "there have to be some shadows. Look at me. My life has been filled with sunshine. A beautiful and caring wife. Five healthy children. I got to do what I loved. How many people are that lucky?"

Elsewhere, he praises the show M*A*S*H and laments reading a "depressing" book by Joseph Conrad, which one would have to assume isn't Heart of Darkness, as the Brown grad was likely already quite familiar with that one. Regarding his legacy in light of the scandal that cost him his long-time job, Paterno wished Sandusky's victims can "find peace" and said, "it doesn't matter what people think of me."

Posnanski is currently working on a book about Paterno.

For more on Paterno, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries, Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire and SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more college football, stay tuned to SB Nation's college football news hub.

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