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Peter Fonda, Star of Easy Rider, Dead at 79

The son of the legendary Henry Fonda and younger brother of Jane Fonda died Friday morning

Kaitlin Thomas

Peter Fonda, who co-wrote, produced, and starred in the 1969 film Easy Rider, for which he was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars, died Friday at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by his family. The official cause of death was respiratory failure due to lung cancer. He was 79.

The son of legendary actor Henry Fonda, brother of actress Jane Fonda, and father of Bridget Fonda, the actor's death was confirmed by his publicist.

"It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away," Fonda's family wrote in a statement. "In one of the saddest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our hearts. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy. And, while we mourn the loss of this sweet and gracious man, we also wish for all to celebrate his indomitable spirit and love of life. In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom. From his Family."

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In a statement released to Variety, the actor's older sister, Jane Fonda, said, "I am very sad. He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing."

Born on Feb. 23, 1940, Fonda was part of the counter-culture of the 1960s. In addition to his nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Easy Rider, he also received an Oscar nod for Best Actor for 1997's Ulee's Gold. He would go on to take home the Golden Globe for Best Actor for the latter. For his performance in The Passion of Ayn Rand, he won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film.

Later in his career, Fonda went on to appear in films like Wild Hogs, the remake of 3:10 to Yuma, and Ghost Rider. On the small screen, Fonda appeared on ER, The Blacklist, Hawaii Five-0, Documentary Now!, and Californication.

​Peter Fonda

Peter Fonda

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images