WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Former White House press secretary James "Jim" Brady, who was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, has died at the age of 73. "A series of health issues" contributed to his death, according to a statement from Brady's family.
Brady was shot in the head during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981.
Brady was wounded so seriously that he was initially reported dead, however, he survived. Months later he left the hospital but was partially paralyzed for the rest of his life.
For decades, Brady and his wife Sarah fought to prevent gun violence. Jim Brady is the namesake of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
"Over the years, Jim inspired so many people as he turned adversity into accomplishment," according to the family statement.
Sarah Brady became chairman of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence after Jim Brady was shot. She then helped win passage of the Brady Law, which requires gun owners to have background checks.
The Brady Campaign issued a statement on Monday. In it, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross says, "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."
MORE ABOUT JAMES "JIM" BRADY: http://www.bradycampaign.org/jim-and-sarah-brady
FAMILY STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF JAMES BRADY:
"We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Jim "Bear" Brady has passed away after a series of health issues. His wife, Sarah, son, Scott, and daughter, Missy, are so thankful to have had the opportunity to say their farewells.
Jim touched the lives of so many and has been a wonderful husband, father, friend and role model. 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.
Over the years, Jim inspired so many people as he turned adversity into accomplishment. Whether working to prevent others from becoming victims of gun violence, mentoring his Sigma Chi brothers, or working to improve the lives of Americans with disabilities, Jim used his many talents and can-do attitude to make a difference in the lives of others. We believe with all our hearts that he did.
While we mourn the loss of our Bear, we take comfort in the time we had with him and the marked impact he had on us and so many other lives. He will forever live on in our memories and in the powerful example he set for all of us."
BRADY CAMPAIGN STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF JAMES BRADY:
"We are heartbroken over the passing of James Brady. 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. 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.
Known to many as 'Bear,' Jim inspired millions with his strength, courage, perseverance and legendary sense of humor. He was also a great personal inspiration to me and my family. When my brother suffered a traumatic brain injury after a shooting at the Empire State Building, Jim and Sarah demonstrated that it was possible to turn a terrible tragedy into real change, and were a big part of the reason I chose to dedicate my own life to preventing gun violence.
I am deeply proud to have called Jim Brady a friend. He will be missed dearly by everyone at our organization, which proudly bears his name, and by a nation that has been made better by his life.
Jim will always remain one of our greatest inspirations as this organization continues to lead the fight for a safer America."