James Brady, the former White House press secretary who was badly wounded in the assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan and later became an advocate for gun control, has died. He was 73. 

His family announced Brady's death in a statement released Monday afternoon, saying he "passed away after a series of health issues." 

"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. Over the years, Jim inspired so many people as he turned adversity into accomplishment." 

Brady was left permanently disabled after being shot in the head on March 30, 1981, by John Hinckley, Jr., outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. 

He afterward undertook a personal crusade for gun control, and lobbied for stricter handgun and assault-weapon laws.  A federal law requiring a background check on handgun buyers bears Brady's name, and The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is named in his honor. 

Although Brady 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.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Watch Doug McKelway's report above on the life of James Brady.