James Brady, who served as the White House Press Secretary under President Ronald Reagan and became an advocate for gun control, died Monday at the retirement community in Alexandria, Virginia where he lived with his wife, The Associated Press reports. He was 73.
"We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Jim 'Bear' Brady has passed away after a series of health issues," his family said in a statement.
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Brady was confined to a wheelchair after being shot in the head during John Hinkley, Jr.'s assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981. After the shooting, Brady was no longer able to serve as Press Secretary, but held the title for the remainder of Reagan's term, with Larry Speakes and Marlin Fitzwater performing the duties as acting or deputy press secretary. He subsequently became an outspoken advocate for gun control and the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act (a.k.a. "The Brady Bill"), which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, is named for him.
The 1991 film Without Warning: The James Brady Story, starring Beau Bridges, tells the story of his recovery after the shooting.
In 1996, President Clinton awarded Brady the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2000, the press briefing room in the White House was renamed the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in his honor.
Brady is survived by his wife, Sarah; a son, Scott; and a daughter, Melissa.