Speakes And Reagan Both Taken By Alzheimer’s Disease
Larry Speaks, who became the White House spokesman after President Ronald Reagan and Press Secretary James Brady were shot in a 1981 assassination attempt, died Friday. He was 74. Speakes, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died at his home in Cleveland, Miss.
Larry Speakes, who spent six years as acting press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, has died in his native Mississippi. He was 74.
Kenny Williams of the Cleveland Funeral Home says Speakes died Friday at his home in Cleveland, Miss., where he had lived the past several years.
Williams says Speakes had Alzheimer’s disease and died in his sleep. He was buried in North Cleveland Cemetery during a private service Friday morning.
Speakes became Reagan’s acting spokesman after Press Secretary James Brady was injured during an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981.
Ronald Reagan’s widow, Nancy Reagan, released a statement Friday expressing sympathy and offering prayers for Speakes’ family.
“I was saddened to learn about Larry, who served Ronnie with great loyalty in one of the toughest jobs in the White House,” the statement read. “He stepped up in very difficult circumstances and was an articulate and respected spokesman day in and day out, including some very historically significant moments. It is a source of special sadness to know he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.”
Ronald Reagan also suffered from Alzheimer’s. Reagan died in 2004.
After resigning in 1987, Speakes worked for Merrill Lynch in New York. He returned to Washington in 1988 and worked in public relations for Northern Telecom and the U. S. Postal Service, retiring in 2008.