JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Larry Speakes, who spent six years as acting press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, died Friday in his native Mississippi. He was 74.
Speakes died at home in Cleveland, Miss., where he had lived the past several years, said Bolivar County Coroner Nate Brown. Brown said Speakes had Alzheimer\’s disease.
\”He died in his sleep and it was a natural death,\” Brown said.
Speakes was buried in North Cleveland Cemetery during a private service Friday morning, a few hours after dying, said Kenny Williams of Cleveland Funeral Home.
Speakes became Reagan\’s acting spokesman after Press Secretary James Brady was wounded during an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981.
In a statement issued from Los Angeles, former first lady Nancy Reagan said that she was \”saddened to learn about Larry, who served Ronnie with great loyalty in one of the toughest jobs in the White House.\”