James Brady, the former press secretary to Ronald Reagan who was permanently disabled in a 1981 assassination attempt on the president, has died.
“Jim touched the lives of so many and has been a wonderful husband, father, friend and role model,” his family said in a statement. “We are enormously proud of Jim’s remarkable accomplishments – before he was shot on the fateful day in 1981 while serving at the side of President Ronald Reagan and in the days, months and years that followed. Jim Brady’s zest for life was apparent to all who knew him, 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.”
Brady was among four people, including Reagan, shot by John Hinckley, Jr. on March 30, 1981. Brady suffered a serious head wound in the attempt and most media outlets reported that Brady had died that afternoon. Hinckley later said he made the attempt on the president to get the attention of actress Jodie Foster.
When Brady’s friend, ABC News anchorman Frank Reynolds, was forced to retract the report, he famously yelled on-air to his staff, “C’mon, let’s get it nailed down!”
Brady survived the hours-long operation following the shooting but was left with slurred speech and partial paralysis. He was in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The wound effectively ended his career as White House Press Secretary, although he remained in the position until the end of Reagan’s first term. Larry Speakes and Marlin Fitzwater performed his duties in his stead.
Brady Campaign statement on death of James Brady: pic.twitter.com/sLDfhpCuT7
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 4, 2014
Brady and his wife, Sarah, worked tirelessly over the years for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence — formerly known as Handgun Control, Inc., which was co-founded by N.T. Pete Shields.
— Mashable (@mashable) August 4, 2014
Brady became a frequent lobbyist for stricter handgun control and assault weapon restrictions. The “Brady Bill”, or more formally, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, was named in his honor.
The White House press briefing room is also named for the former press secretary.
Image via YouTube