Iconic actor Peter Fonda passed away at 11:05 a.m. on Friday, August 16. His family confirmed the news to Closer, revealed that he his official cause of death was respiratory failure related to his battle with lung cancer. The star was 79 at the time of his passing.
“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,” his family said in a statement shared with Closer. “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.”
Big sister Jane Fonda said in her own 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. He went out laughing.” When the actress added her foot and handprints to the cement at the TCL Chinese Theater in 2013, her brother was by her side to support her.
Over the span of his almost five decades in Hollywood, the star took on many memorable roles. He may be best known for his role as Wyatt in 1969’s Easy Rider, but he also starred in more recent projects like 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma. He’s even got one more project still set to debut, a movie called Skate God that’s scheduled to premiere in July 2020.
Despite his cancer, Peter was still active and working. He had been working on prepping a 50th-anniversary celebration for Easy Rider, including a with a screening and concert at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall scheduled for September 20. “What a ride it’s been!” he said recently, talking about the movie at Cannes Film Festival. “From a funky motel room in Toronto in ’67 to a roar on the shore at Cannes in May 1969. A wild ride up the stairs at the Palais into the history books of cinema. Looking for America. Would we find it today? I think not. Did we really ‘blow it?’ You bet. 50 years later, are we blowing it now? You bet. Enjoy the new print. Sing along with the songs. Laugh with the humor! Remember the spirit! Find the love.” Our hearts go out to Peter’s friends and family in the wake of this heartbreaking news.