Former first lady Nancy Reagan has called former ex-US press secretary James Brady "the personification of courage and perseverance," NBC reports.
Mr Brady, who was wounded during the 1981 assassination attempt on president Ronald Reagan, has died aged 73.
In the short time he was able to serve as White House press secretary, Jim brought sharp instincts, integrity and energy to one of the most demanding jobs in Washington. What a shame that he was not able to serve as we had hoped for longer. Jim was the personification of courage and perseverance. He and Sarah never gave up, and never stopped caring about the causes in which they believed.
Mrs Reagan also recalled the "unspeakable fear" she shared with Brady's wife, Sarah, at the hospital after the assassination attempt, saying "the bond we established then was unlike any other."
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The balloon came down near Lockhart, Texas, around 8.30am local time.