Health experts worked hard Sunday to defuse fears of a national epidemic among gay men after a Sacramento native died Saturday from a lethal strain of bacterial meningitis that has claimed seven lives in New York City this year. Brett Shaad, a 33-year-old commercial and real estate lawyer, had just resigned his job in Los Angeles to run a nonprofit seeking to prevent suicide by getting mental health care to those who couldn't afford it, said family spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford. "He also planned to work on his brother Brian's organic farm in Natomas, Feeding Crane Farms." Shaad was declared legally brain dead from the disease Friday. His family took him off life support at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles on Saturday night. "The doctors don't know where or how Brett contracted meningitis," Ashford said.