Joe Paterno Death Sparks Reaction on Twitter

Joe Paterno, the former football coach of Penn State University, has died, according to reports, and friends and fans have quickly taken to Twitter to pay their respects and condolences.

Paterno is praised as one of the greatest ever college coaches; leading Penn State to more wins than any other top division college football coach in U.S. history (409).

However, his career at Penn State came to an abrupt end as controversy surrounded the football coaching staff in a child sex scandal. Even though the controversy centered around former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, Paterno was forced to resign in November following 46 years as coach.

Paterno(Photo: REUTERS / Scott Audette)Penn State head coach Joe Paterno watches his team during the fourth quarter of the Capital One Bowl NCAA football game in Orlando, Florida, in this January 1, 2010 file photo.

Paterno's son, Scott, took to Twitter to give one final message from Joe to his fans.

"My family wants to express our heartfelt thanks to the hospital staff and doctors. They were amazing and caring - Thanks isn't enough," Paterno said.

"Finally, to Penn Staters, past and present, know that Dad loves you all and has always loved being part of your family," he added.

It has been alleged that Paterno had been told how Sandusky had been found in the showers with a young boy. He failed to notify the police, deciding instead to only report it to the university’s athletics director. His lack of action brought a wave of criticism against him for not doing more to protect the children. Even though he did not do anything legally wrong , many believe that he did not fulfill his moral duty to do more.

Paterno, 85, was soon diagnosed with lung cancer following his departure. His family released a statement saying, “He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been.”

Others have also paid their respects in Twitter:

"At a loss for words... One of the most influential men in our nations history. By his passing PSU nations grows even stronger. Love you Joe," tweeted former Penn State wide receiver Jordan Norwood.

"R.I.P Coach. I owe you so much! My prayers are with the Paterno family and the Penn State Family. #WeAre," said former Penn State assistant coach Kermit Buggs.

"So sad to hear the news of Joe Pa's passing! What an impact he made on college football! Many prayers for the family," Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has tweeted.