James Brady, the former White House press secretary injured during an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981, died today at age 73.
After being shot in the head outside the Washington Hilton Hotel during the attack on the president, Brady lent his name to the nation’s most influential gun-control lobby group. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has been especially active following mass shootings in recent years, although efforts to get stricter laws have largely been unsuccessful since the 1990s. The federal law requiring background checks for handgun buyers also bears Brady’s name.
Brady returned to the White House after his recovery, but only briefly. He was allowed to keep the title of presidential press secretary and his White House salary until Reagan left office in January 1989.
“Jim inspired millions with his strength, courage, perseverance, and legendary sense of humor,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign. Despite his injuries and the challenges it created for him, Brady “never gave up fighting and never lost his trademark wit,” Gross said.
Brady’s death was not unexpected, according to a statement issued by his family.
“We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Jim ‘Bear’ Brady has passed away after a series of health issues,” the family said. “His wife, Sarah, son, Scott, and daughter, Missy, are so thankful to have had the opportunity to say their farewells.” The statement did not say where Brady was when he died.