(AP) — John Langley
, the creator of the long-running television
series "Cops," died during a road race in Mexico
, according to a family
Langley, 78, died Saturday during the Coast to Coast Ensenada-San Felipe 250 off-road race in Baja, Mexico, from an apparent heart attack
, according to family spokeswoman Pam Golum.
When “Cops” debuted in 1989, it was one of the first reality shows on the air, and it would become an institution over the course of 32 seasons. Langley and production partner Malcolm Barbour had shopped the idea for years before landing a home on the fledgling Fox
The show was known for following cops, from deputies in the Deep South to officers from major city police
departments, on long, boring nights in patrol cars or on feverish foot chases.
Its eccentricities, such as its frequently shirtless
suspects and reggae theme song "Bad Boys," provided frequent fodder for stand-up comedians and were frequently referenced in films, TV shows, and songs.
It aired on Fox until 2013, when it was picked up by Viacom-owned Spike TV, which was later renamed The Paramount Network.
It was pulled from the air by Paramount last year during worldwide protests over the killing of George Floyd
because of what was perceived to be a slanted, pro-police viewpoint.
Some episodes of the show are still broadcast in syndication around the world.
Langley was born in Oklahoma City
and raised in Los Angeles, where he attended California
, Dominguez Hills, and served in the United States
Army in the early 1960s.
Langley also worked on the 2009 film "Brooklyn
's Finest," directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Richard Gere and Don Cheadle
, as well as the non-fiction series "Jail," "Vegas Strip," and "Anatomy of a Crime
He was an off-road racing fan who frequently participated in events like the one he did on Saturday.
Langley is survived by his son, Morgan, who runs their production company Langley Productions; another son, Zak; two daughters, Sara Langley Dews and Jennifer Blair; his wife, Maggie; and seven grandchildren.