Former White House spokesman shot during 1981 assassination attempt on president Ronald Reagan dies

A March 30, 2011 file photo shows former White House press secretary James Brady as he gives the thumbs-up while visiting the Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC. He was shot and left permanently disabled in an assassination atte
A March 30, 2011 file photo shows former White House press secretary James Brady as he gives the thumbs-up while visiting the Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC. He was shot and left permanently disabled in an assassination attempt on then US president Ronald Reagan in 1981. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Former White House spokesman James Brady, who was shot and wounded in a 1981 attempt to assassinate his then boss President Ronald Reagan, has died, his family said Monday. He was 73.

In a statement to US news media, the family said Brady – who became a leading advocate of tougher handgun laws after being shot – had passed away “after a series of health issues".

“We are enormously proud of Jim’s remarkable accomplishments – before he was shot on that fateful day in 1981 while serving at the side of President Ronald Reagan and in the days, months and years that followed,” they said.

Brady was among four people shot and wounded – including Reagan himself – when John Hinckley Jr attempted to murder the president outside the Washington Hilton hotel on March 30, 1981, only 69 days after he took office.

His serious head wound left him with partial paralysis and slurred speech. Unable to return to work, the Illinois native nevertheless retained the title of White House press secretary throughout the Reagan administration.

With his wife Sarah, he took a prominent role in efforts to enact tougher handgun laws in the United States, notably through an advocacy group that came to be known as the Brady Campaign.