Oscar-nominated actor Peter Fonda has passed away at the age of 79. Though at first it was unclear what the cause of death was, a statement from his family did reveal this information.
“It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away,” the family said. “[Peter] passed away peacefully on Friday morning, August 16 at 11:05 a.m. 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,” they wrote. "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.”
Fonda, who was OscarU nominated for his roles in Ulee's Gold and Easy Rider, was the younger brother to legendary actress Jane Fonda. The Grace and Frankie star released a short statement on her brother's passing.
“I am very sad," Fonda said. "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.”
Peter Fonda was only 10 years old when his mother killed herself, something that he wrote about in his memoir. It was a moment that largely shaped his life.
“When I walked toward [my family] they told me to go through the closed doors and into the living room. I opened the doors and saw Jane, Grandma, and Dad sitting on the couches. Jane was on Dad’s lap,” Peter recalled in the memoir. “I went to Grandma, and she told me Mother had died of a heart attack, in a hospital. After that, no one ever talked about Mom. No one seemed to miss her. It was almost as if she had never lived. Jane and I never went to a funeral or service for her; I didn’t know where she was buried."
His sister was open about how their mother's death affected Peter.
“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.”
Peter Fonda leaves behind his wife Margaret, his children Bridget and Justin, and his sister Jane.