The White House on Monday paid tribute to the deceased James Brady, the 73-year-old press secretary for President Ronald Reagan who survived an assassination attempt and became a central figure in the national gun control debate.
"Jim is a legend at the White House for his warmth and professionalism as press secretary for President Reagan; for the strength he brought to bear in recovering from the shooting that nearly killed him 33 years ago; and for turning the events of that terrible afternoon into a remarkable legacy of service through the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence," President Obama said in a statement Monday.
And those who followed in Brady's path were quick to praise his service both at the White House and away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“He is somebody who I think really revolutionized this job,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “Even after he was wounded in an attack on the president, he was somebody who showed his patriotism and commitment to the country by being very outspoken on an issue that was important to him and he felt very strongly about. He leaves the kind of legacy that certainly this press secretary, and all future press secretaries, will aspire to live up to.”
The Brady family put out a statement earlier Monday announcing the former presidential spokesman’s death.
"Jim touched the lives of so many and has been a wonderful husband, father, friend and role model," his family said. "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."
Brady had an even bigger influence on politics after he left the White House.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence for decades has pushed for stricter firearms laws. Former President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, and the White House briefing room is now named in Brady's honor.
"Since 1993, the law that bears Jim’s name has kept guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals," Obama said. "An untold number of people are alive today who otherwise wouldn’t be, thanks to Jim."
This article was originally posted at 2:31 p.m. and has since been updated.