A Las Vegas businessman who developed the Grand Canyon Skywalk glass bridge in northwestern Arizona and later became entangled in legal battles about it has died in Los Angeles, a company representative said Friday.
David Jin died Thursday at UCLA Medical Center after a four-year battle with cancer, Grand Canyon Skywalk Development spokesman David Weissman said. He was 51.
Jin’s death comes amid a continuing legal fight over his contractual rights to the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped, glass-bottomed walkway that has become the Hualapai Tribe’s premier tourist attraction.
An attorney for the development company said Jin’s family will continue to pursue Skywalk legal rights.
Jin, originally from Shanghai, moved to the U.S. in 1988 and operated Oriental Tours Inc. and Y-Travel LLC in Las Vegas.
He already was ferrying tourists 2½ hours from Las Vegas to the west rim of the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai reservation when he approached the tribe with an idea to build the Skywalk. It opened in 2007.
The structure juts out 70 feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon’s sheer limestone walls, offering visitors a unique view some 4,000 feet down to the Colorado River, which appears as a thin brown ribbon.
“Our thinking is that, if a human being could walk over the canyon, if they had the opportunity, even handicapped people, it’s just really, really, you know, something,” Jin said in 2006.
Jin invested $30 million to build the Skywalk.