Former Pennsylvania State University football coach Joe Paterno has lung cancer, his son said in a statement.

The diagnosis comes in the wake of a spectacular fall from grace for the 84-year-old coach, which came to a head last week with his being fired by the university after more than 50 years on the football team's coaching staff.

Scott Paterno told The Associated Press in a statement that his father has a treatable form of the pulmonary disease and that he is currently being treated.

A spokeswoman at TMG Strategies, the firm handling Paterno's public relations, declined to comment on the diagnosis.

Penn State University did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the diagnosis.

Scott Paterno's full statement is below:

I have been asked by my father to make a brief statement on his behalf.

Like everyone who has watched this story unfold, my father is experiencing a range of powerful emotions. He is absolutely distraught over what happened to the children and their families. He also wants very much to speak publicly and answer questions.

At this stage, however, he has no choice but to be patient and defer to the legal process. He cooperated fully with the Grand Jury and he will continue to cooperate with the investigation as we move forward.

On behalf of my father, I have retained Wick Sollers at the law firm of King and Spalding. My father's desire is for the truth to be uncovered and he will work with his lawyers to that end. Going forward, Mr. Sollers has directed my father, our family and everyone associated with us to make no further public statements and to respond to no media inquiries. We will honor this request. Accordingly, all requests for comments or other information should be directed to Mr. Sollers.