Counterculture icon and one of the star of the 1969 cult movie Easy Rider has passed away at 79 from respiratory failure after a battle with lung cancer.
Fonda was surrounded by members of his family when he “passed away peacefully” Friday morning, according to People.
“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,” the statement to People read. “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.”
Peter was part of the powerful Fonda acting dynasty that included his father, screen legend Henry Fonda, older sister Jane Fonda and daughter Bridget Fonda.
He had a traumatic childhood, with his mother Frances Ford Seymour committing suicide when he was 10 years old, a sad event about which his family kept the details secret. The lack of proper mourning and openness about the loss of his mother made for a very challenging relationship with his father, which he wrote about in the 1998 autobiography, Don’t Tell Dad: A Memoir.
Peter ultimately followed in his sister and father’s footsteps and pursued a career in acting on the stage and big screen but broke out with Easy Rider, which he produced and co-wrote, going on to earn an Oscar nomination for the film that epitomized the free love and drug culture of the times. He won two Golden Globes for 1998’s Ulee’s Gold and 2000’s The Passion of Ayn Rand.
He was married three times and has two daughters and, according to his IMDB page, was most recently working on pre-production for a film called Skate God.