John Langley died on Saturday of an apparent heart attack in Baja, Mexico; his representatives told Variety.
According to the outlet, Langley was competing in the Coast to Coast Ensenada-San Felipe 250 off-road race. TMZ adds that his son Zak was with him at the time.
Langley is now survived by his wife Maggie, sons Zak and Morgan, daughters Sarah Langley Dews and Jennifer Blair, and seven grandchildren.
Born in Oklahoma City in 1943, Langley began his career in the early 1960s, serving in the U.S. Army’s intelligence unit before later graduating from Cal State Dominguez Hills and attending U.C. Irvine for grad school after, per Variety.
Later in life, John Langley began his stint in reality television with his 1986 special American Vice: The Doping of a Nation. The project showed live drug arrests on primetime television.
He then produced various series, including Inside American Jail, Las Vegas Jailhouse, Street Patrol, and Undercover Stings, as well as documentaries including Terrorism: Target USA and Who Killed JFK?
But in the late 1980s, Langley got his big break when he and production partner Malcolm Barbour were able to get Cops on the air after trying for many years to find a home network for the show.
The series was nominated for Emmy awards in the outstanding informational series category four times in its inaugural years.
Back in 2009, Langley told the T.V. Academy, “I’m a kid of the ’60s. I’m sort of anti-authoritarian by nature. If you told me I was going to do a show about cops, I would have said, ‘What am I going to call it, Pigs?'”
Cops were originally broadcast by Fox for the series’ first 25 seasons before it was canceled in May 2013 and later picked up by Spike TV – which became the Paramount Network in 2018.
The series was later canceled again in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “Cops is not on the Paramount Network, and we don’t have any current or plans for it to return,” a network spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline at the time.