James Brady, the former presidential press secretary who was critically wounded during Ronald Reagan’s assassination attempt, has passed away at the age of 73.
Brady died at a retirement community in Alexandria, Virginia, where he had been residing for the past year and a half, MSN News reported. His family revealed the former press secretary passed away after dealing with several serious health issues.
After being shot in 1981 by Reagan’s would-be assassin, Brady was able to recover from the bullet wound in his brain, but he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Once fully recuperated, he and his wife went on to campaign hard for gun laws.
The couple was able to get the “Brady Bill” passed in 1993, which required would-be gun purchasers to undergo a five-day waiting period and a background check. Due to this law, “countless lives have been saved,” Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said. “In fact, there are few Americans in history who are as directly responsible for saving as many lives as Jim.”
Brady was born in Centralia, Illinois, and worked in public relations in addition to being a professor at the University of Illinois, before going to Washington in 1972. Once in D.C., he went to work in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of Defense. He also worked as press secretary to John Connally during the Republican candidate’s presidential campaign.
But after Connally lost his bid for the presidential nomination in 1980, Brady joined Reagan’s White House staff, where he quickly became known for his jovial and friendly character.
“Jim Brady’s zest for life was apparent to all who knew him,” Brady’s family said in a statement following the news of his passing. “And despite his injuries and the pain he endured every day, he used his humor, wit and charm to bring smiles to others and make the world a better place.”