WASHINGTON (AP) - James Brady, the affable, witty press secretary who survived a devastating head wound in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and undertook a personal crusade for gun control, died today. 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," Brady's family said in a statement. "His wife, Sarah, son, Scott, and daughter, Missy, are so thankful to have had the opportunity to say their farewells."
Brady suffered a bullet wound to his head outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981. Although he returned to the White House 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.
Brady, who spent much of the rest of his life in a wheelchair, died at a retirement community in Alexandria, Va., where he lived with his wife.
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, a federal law requiring a background check on handgun buyers, bears his name, as is the White House press briefing room.