LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Dr. Robert Lang, executive director of UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute, has passed away at 62. University President Keith Whitfield confirmed the loss, saying it came after a battle with a “lengthy illness.”

“It is with great sadness that I share news of the passing of UNLV Professor Robert E. Lang, one of Southern Nevada’s most passionate champions and advocates,” Whitfield wrote in a letter to the UNLV community.

Lang was known for his expertise in the areas of urban growth, economic development and public policy, among other subjects. He was also a major analyst behind the ideas that eventually unfolded as UNLV’s Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine, Allegiant Stadium and other major projects in the region.

“Through his work with Brookings and Lincy, he introduced many of the nation’s top policy minds to UNLV and Southern Nevada, forging strong connections that have elevated regional growth and development,” Whitfield continued. “He helped draft a plan to diversify our state’s economy and was a staunch advocate for improved transportation infrastructure both in Southern Nevada and between our community and Phoenix.”

8 News Now spoke with Lang on several occasions, regarding topics like Nevada’s efforts to attract businesses, Las Vegas’ economy, a local light rail system and the funding disparity between Northern and Southern Nevada.

The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce also issued a statement on Lang’s passing, which reads:

Dr. Robert Lang forever transformed Southern Nevada. 

During the depths of the Great Recession, Dr. Lang and his colleagues at Brookings Mountain West, identified significant industries and infrastructure that Southern Nevada lacked that impeded economic recovery and diversification. He was a leading proponent of economic development and leveraging our strengthens to move our community forward. As a result of Rob’s vision, tenacity, and collaboration with the Vegas Chamber and other community organizations, our region became laser-focused on filling these critical gaps.  Rob was an important bridge between academia and the business community; he understood how both sectors needed to work together to advance the community.

Rob’s fingerprints are all over Las Vegas.  His partnership with the Vegas Chamber spanned over a decade. Without Rob Lang, Las Vegas would not be where we are today.  He was instrumental in spurring the creation of the UNLV School of Medicine, Allegiant Stadium, Interstate 11, UNLV achieving Carnegie R1 research status, and the formation of the Southern Nevada Forum, to name just a few.

Rob will be deeply missed by his friends at the Vegas Chamber.”

Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce

UNLV extended its condolences to Lang’s family. Whitfield says memorial details are currently being worked on and will be shared when available.