The Oscar-nominated actor died on Friday at the age of 79; the cause of death was respiratory failure due to lung cancer, his family said
Actor Peter Fonda best known his roles in Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider and Roger Corman’s The Trip, was the brother of Jane Fonda and son of actor Henry Fonda. He was born on February 23, 1940, in New York City and he made his debut in the romantic comedy Tammy and the Doctore in 1963. But it was Fonda’s Easy Rider role as a motorcyclist that became synonymous with his legacy. He has even been nominated for the Oscars twice.
The star is said to have been battling lung cancer for quite sometime before he passed way. “It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away,” his family said, reports The Rolling Stone. “[Peter] passed away peacefully on Friday morning, August 16 at 11:05 am at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by family,” they continued. “The official cause of death was respiratory failure due to lung cancer. 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,” the family added. “In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom.”
His sister who is two years older, Jane Fonda is best known for her roles in Barbarella, Klute, Book Club, and Netflix’s Grace and Frankie. Speaking about her brother's death, she said in a statement, "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,” she added. “He went out laughing.”
The two have had their share of tough times since their childhood which included the estrangement of their father. They also lost their mother to suicide. They were just 10 and 12 years old. They were initially told that their mother had a heart attack and died in the hospital; their father barely spoke about it. But later they found out it was suicide and that she had killed herself on her 42nd birthday.
Back in 2014, in an interview with People, Jane Fonda talked about how sensitive Peter was and how their mother's death had affected him. “It was like she’d just been erased,” Jane said. “[The Christmas after she died], Peter filled a chair with presents and a letter for her. He couldn’t stand that there was no acknowledgment of her. He was such a sensitive, sweet, vulnerable kid.”
More recently Peter was featured on television shows, including CSI: NY, Hawaii Five-O, The Blacklist, and Milo Murphy’s Law.