James Brady has died at the age of 73. The former White House Press Secretary and champion for gun control passed away due to health issues, his family said in a statement released Monday, Aug. 4.
The late Brady served under former President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. In March 1981, he sustained a serious gunshot wound to the head when John Hinckley, Jr. attempted to assassinate President Reagan in the hopes that the violence would impress actress Jodie Foster.
Following the incident, he became a vocal advocate for gun control, honored by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, both founded in his name.
"We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Jim 'Bear' Brady has passed away after a series of health issues," the Brady family said in a statement. "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 also remembered by Brady Campaign President Dan Gross, who released a statement after the news of Brady's death was made public.
"We are heartbroken over the passing of James Brady," Gross' statement read. "We offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Sarah, and the rest of his family as we mourn the loss of our dear friend and a true American hero."
"Jim never gave up fighting and never lost his trademark wit despite suffering a traumatic brain injury after being shot in 1981 by a mentally unstable young man attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan," the words continued. "Since then, he and Sarah have worked tirelessly to pass legislation that makes it harder for criminals and other dangerous people to buy guns. Because of Jim’s hard work and the policy that bears his name—the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act—an estimated 2 million gun sales to criminals, domestic abusers and other dangerous people have been blocked. As a result, countless lives have been saved. In fact, there are few Americans in history who are as directly responsible for saving as many lives as Jim."
Brady is survived by his wife Sarah Brady, their son James Scott Brady, Jr., and his daughter Melissa.