Hollywood Icon Peter Fonda Dies Aged 79: 'He Went Out Laughing,' Says Sister Jane Fonda

Hollywood Icon Peter Fonda Dies Aged 79: 'He Went Out Laughing,' Says Sister Jane Fonda

The Oscar-nominated actor and brother of Jane Fonda passed away on Friday after a battle with lung cancer. The cause of death was said to be respiratory failure.

Hollywood icon Peter Fonda has passed away at 79 from respiratory failure due to lung cancer, PEOPLE confirmed. The two-time Oscar-nominated actor and writer was the son of Henry Fonda and the brother of Jane Fonda, and was best known for his role in the 1969 classic Easy Rider, which he co-wrote, produced, and starred in. Fonda's family released a statement mourning his loss, saying, "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." The statement continued, “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."


Jane Fonda spoke to PEOPLE shortly after the announcement of her brother's death, reassuring everyone that he "went out laughing" and that she had spent time with him in the recent past. “I am very sad,” she said in a statement. “He was my sweet-hearted baby brother, the talker of the family.” She added, “I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing.” Apart from his role in Easy Rider, the actor also starred in Ulee’s GoldThe Hired HandThe Trip, and Wild Angels, opposite Nancy Sinatra and Bruce Dern.


Fonda was born in 1940 in New York City and made his film debut in 1963 with Tammy and the Doctor, a romantic comedy. The star spent his early years growing up alongside his older sister, Jane, until he was sent to boarding school at the age of 6. In the course of his career, Fonda has earned accolades for directing, writing and acting, including four Golden Globe nominations - two of which he won - one Emmy nomination, and two Oscar nominations. More recently, Fonda featured in television series including CSI: NY, Hawaii Five-O, The Blacklist, and Milo Murphy’s Law.


According to PEOPLE, at the time of his death, the actor was in pre-production for a film called Skate God, slated for a 2020 release. His final film, The Last Full Measure, is expected to release later this year. 

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