STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Jerry Sandusky, the retired Penn State assistant coach who faces child sex abuse charges in a case that led to the firing of Joe Paterno, called the death of his former boss a sad loss Sunday.

"This is a sad day! Our family, Dottie and I would like to convey our deepest sympathy to Sue and her family," Sandusky said in a statement. "Nobody will be able to take away the memories we all shared of a great man, his family, and all the wonderful people who were a part of his life." Sandusky is awaiting trial on 52 criminal counts for what prosecutors say was sexual abuse of 10 children over 15 years. He denies the allegations.

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Sandusky was Paterno's top assistant for years until he retired in 1999, and he said he remembered Paterno as a great man who met high standards in a difficult job.

"He maintained a high standard in a very difficult profession. Joe preached toughness, hard work and clean competition," Sandusky said. "Most importantly, he had the courage to practice what he preached."