01/02/2012 04:13 EST | Updated 03/03/2012 05:12 EST

Business leader, philanthropist Milton Wong leaves inspirational legacy

VANCOUVER - Business leader and philanthropist Milton Wong, who grew up among eight siblings in Vancouver's Chinatown and later helped broker British Columbia's first modern-day land claims agreement, has died at age 72.

His niece, Joanna Wong, says her uncle was surrounded by loved ones when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Saturday.

Wong was instrumental in helping to structure land claim and business partnerships for First Nations and also played a role in the Nisga'a Treaty in 1998.

He served as chancellor of Simon Fraser University from 1999 to 2005 and raised money for organizations such as the BC Cancer Foundation, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Premier Christy Clark, NDP Leader Adrian Dix and Mayor Gregor Robertson said Wong, who received the Order of Canada, enriched many lives with his contributions to cultural harmony, education and public service.

A memorial service will be held later this month for Wong, who is survived by his wife, three daughters and three grandchildren.