Joe Paterno's son: Dad upbeat till the end

Students and other mourners gather around the statue of Joe Paterno, the former Penn State football coach who died earlier in the day, outside Beaver Stadium on the campus of Penn State Jan. 22, 2012, in State College, Pa. Getty Images

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Joe Paterno's son says that as recently as last Wednesday his father was anxious to leave the hospital and start planning a vacation with his wife, Sue.

Scott Paterno said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press that his father remained upbeat to the end, but by Friday afternoon his health had worsened.

The family announced Saturday that the former Penn State football coach was in serious condition. Paterno died Sunday morning.

Scott Paterno says that despite getting fired in November, his father still loved the school and his lasting message would be, "Let's build this thing up."

He said his Dad was confident until the end and did not die broken-hearted.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has offered his condolences to the family of Paterno, who died of lung cancer.

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The White House says the president spoke with Paterno's wife, Sue, and son, Jay, on Monday to express his condolences.

The White House says the president recalled fond memories of when he first met Coach Paterno and said he and first lady Michelle Obama would keep the Paterno family in their prayers.

Penn State is planning a memorial service on Thursday for Paterno, who was fired in November after he was criticized over his handling of child sex-abuse allegations leveled against his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.

Paterno won two national championships and 409 games — the most in the history of major college football.

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