Peter Fonda, the iconic actor who helped define counterculture in 1969’s Easy Rider, has died at the age of 79, People reports. Fonda died after suffering respiratory failure due to lung cancer, according to the report. As the family said in a statement to People:
It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away. [Peter] passed away peacefully on Friday morning, August 16 at 11:05am at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by family. 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. In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom.
Born in New York in 1940, Fonda was best known for playing Wyatt in Easy Rider, for which he was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay. The son of Henry Fonda (younger brother of Jane Fonda), Peter was also known for critically acclaimed roles in Ulee’s Gold, The Hired Hand, The Trip, and the TV miniseries The Passion of Ayn Rand.
Just last month, The Hollywood Reporter asked Fonda to reflect on Easy Rider 50 years later. In the interview, Fonda explained one of the film’s most iconic scenes, when in the end at a campfire he tells Billy, “We blew it.”
Fonda told The Hollywood Reporter: “I never intended to answer that question. I intended it to be enigmatic and applicable to all kinds of things. When asked today if it’s still relevant, go look out the window and tell me we haven’t blown it.”