In a statement released Thursday, Friday's family said, "Friday and his family wish to express their profound thanks to all who have been so kind, patient and thoughtful during this time."
The 91 year old received a permanent pacemaker last week.
Calls and visits will remain restricted as he enters an extended period of rehabilitation toward a full recovery.
Friday served as the head of the University of North Carolina system from 1956 to 1986.
He led the school through integration, the sponsorship of the state education network and its growth into a 16-campus university system. He also helped with the formation of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Since retiring as president, Friday has continued to push to keep college affordable and supported programs to reduce poverty and illiteracy. He also has his own show on UNC-TV called "North Carolina People" that he last taped earlier this month.
Friday had open heart surgery in 2009.