James Brady Dies; Reagan Press Secretary, Gun Control Advocate Was 73

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Former White House press secretary and outspoken gun control advocate James Brady has died at the age of 73, his family said in a statement Monday.

Brady, J

The family cited "a series of health issues" for the long-time political spokesman and figure who was paralyzed during a shooting 33 years ago.

"Over the years, Jim inspired so many people as he turned adversity into accomplishment," the family said in the statement, referencing the attack.

That attack was the 1981 assassination attempt on his boss, President Ronald Reagan. Brady went on to lead a gun control campaign that bears his name.

The federal law that requires background checks be conducted on handgun buyers, The Brady Bill, passed in the ensuing years, to James' great pride.

"Few Americans in history as directly responsible for saving as many lives as Jim," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

On March 30, 1981, Brady accompanied Reagan to a speech in Washington, D.C.

John Hinckley Jr. opened fire on the presidential party, nearly killing the president.

Reagan sustained a bullet wound in one lung, and eventually recovered; Brady sustained a wound in the head that paralyzed the left side of his body.

Through therapy and a series of brain operations, Brady suffered constant pain as well as some slurred speech and partial brain damage, but he survived.

Brady retained the title of press secretary for the remainder of Ronald Reagan's presidency, even as others performed the duties of the office.

Current White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Brady "really revolutionized this job" and set a standard that successors should aspire to.

Brady "showed his patriotism and commitment to the country by being very outspoken on an issue that was important to him and that he felt very strongly about."

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