JACKSON, Miss. - 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. Bolivar County Coroner Nate Brown said Speakes had Alzheimer's disease.

"He died in his sleep and it was a natural death," Brown said.

Kenny Williams of Cleveland Funeral Home said Speakes was buried in North Cleveland Cemetery during a private service Friday morning, a few hours after dying.

Speakes became Reagan's acting spokesman after Press Secretary James Brady was injured during an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981.