Nancy Reagan, Josh Earnest Issue Statements on Jim ‘Bear’ Brady Death

Nancy Reagan, the former first lady of the United States, issued a statement on the death of James Brady, a press secretary for President Ronald Reagan.

Brady was badly injured in the assassination attempt on Reagan. His family announced his death on Monday.

But Nancy Reagan said she “was deeply saddened” after learning that Brady died. “Thinking of him brings back so many memories–happy and sad–of a time in all of our lives when we learned what it means to ‘play the hand we’re dealt.'”

“On the1980 campaign plane, Jim was a wise counselor, who took his role but not himself seriously. Ronnie and I enjoyed his company, trusted his judgment and relied on him. So did the press corps,” she added. “In the short time he was able to serve as the White House Press Secretary, Jim brought sharp instincts, integrity, and energy to one of the most demanding jobs in Washington.”

The statement was first obtained by ABC News.

Current press secretary Josh Earnest also gave a statement about Brady’s death.


AP update: Former White House press secretary Jim Brady dies  

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 Monday. 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, who spent much of the rest of his life in a wheelchair, died at a retirement community in Alexandria, Virginia, where he lived with his wife.

He suffered a bullet wound to his head in the assassination attempt 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.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan said she was “deeply saddened to learn of Jim Brady’s passing today. Thinking of him brings back so many memories — happy and sad — of a time in all of our lives when we learned what it means to “play the hand we’re dealt.”

A federal law requiring a background check on handgun buyers bears his name, as does the White House press briefing room.

Josh Earnest, President Barack Obama’s press secretary, said Brady “showed his patriotism and commitment to the country by being very outspoken on an issue that was important to him and that he felt very strongly about.”