Sarah Brady Dies: Gun Control Advocate, James Brady’s Widow, Passes At Age 73

James Brady’s widow Sarah Brady died Friday at the age of 73. Sarah and Jim Brady became dedicated gun control activists after he was shot during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

Sarah Brady died of pneumonia, according to NPR. Jim Brady died last August at the age of 73 and CNN reported that his death was directly tied to the injuries he sustained in that 1981 shooting.

After former White House press secretary Jim Brady was shot in the head in that Reagan assassination attempt, he was left partly paralyzed and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Shooter John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and he’s been in a psychiatric hospital ever since.

Fox News shares that Sarah Brady led “The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence,” which eventually helped to pull together The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act that was signed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. That bill led to the requirement for a national background check registry as well as a waiting period on handgun purchases.

The Bradys remained strong forces in the gun control discussion, especially after the Sandy Hook school shooting in December 2012. Over the years, Sarah worked tirelessly to move the discussion on gun control forward, even when facing serious obstacles from the National Rifle Association and other gun enthusiasts. The couple is hailed for the progress they made over the years and they are credited with having saved many lives as a result of their work.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan has spoken out about Sarah Brady’s passing.

“Just over 34 years ago, we shared an experience that bonded us for life, as we comforted each other in a tiny, windowless office at the George Washington University Hospital Emergency Room, while awaiting word about whether our husbands would survive the horrific gunshots that had brought them there. Over the years, I found her to be a woman of immense courage, strength and optimism. I will miss Sarah very much, but take comfort in knowing that she joined Jim on Good Friday and is now at peace.”

Sarah Brady was surrounded by family in her final days, the family’s statement says. Her son Scott, stepdaughter Missy, brother Bill, and daughter-in-law Andree were with her until the end, it seems. Many around the country are mourning the death of Sarah Brady, coming so soon after husband James Brady’s death, but supporters know the work they’ve done will carry on in their memory.

[Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images]