US actor Peter Fonda, the star of cult classic road movie Easy Rider, has died at the age of 79. Born into an established acting family, he carved his own alternative career path.
Peter Fonda — who co-wrote and starred in the counter-culture classic "Easy Rider" — has died at the age of 79, his family confirmed on Saturday.
The son of Hollywood giant Henry Fonda, he found a niche in 1960s counterculture.
"I am very sad," Fonda's sister and fellow actor Jane said in a statement. "He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing."
The family said he has died of respiratory failure due to lung cancer.
Fonda was best known for "Easy Rider," which he co-wrote and starred in alongside Dennis Hopper. The film portrayed the exploits of two bikers on their way to Mardi Gras. Fonda earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing the movie.
"Easy Rider depicted the rise of hippie culture, condemned the establishment, and celebrated freedom. Peter Fonda embodied those values and instilled them in a generation," Goodfellas actress Illeana Douglas wrote on Twitter.
"Independent cinema begins with Easy Rider," she added.
Fonda began his acting career in Broadway in his native New York. He was also an environmentalist, co-producing the 2012 film "The Big Fix," which centered on the explosion of the BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon, the ensuing spill and its environmental hazards.
Fonda married three times, and leaves behind two children, including actress Bridget.
"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 relatives said in a statement.
"In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom."
shs, rc/ (AP, Reuters, dpa)