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Peter Fonda, celebrated actor and star of ‘Easy Rider,’ has died aged 79

Actor Peter Fonda has died at the age of 79 after a battle with lung cancer, his family have confirmed.

Fonda’s wife, Parky, released a statement on behalf of the family, it reads: “It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away. 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…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 honour of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom.”

While born into Hollywood royalty, Fonda’s major breakthrough came in 1968 when he produced, co-wrote and starred in the landmark independent counterculture film Easy Rider, directed by Dennis Hopper. Fonda, who played the role of ‘Captain America’ in the film, ended up being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Fonda, while writing in autobiography Don’t Tell Dad: A Memoir which was released in 1998, explained that the idea for the film came after he was looking at a move poster for The Wild Angels. “I understood immediately just what kind of motorcycle, sex, and drug movie I should make next,” he wrote.

“It would not be about one hundred Hell’s angels on their way to a funeral. It would be about the Duke and Jeffrey Hunter looking for Natalie Wood. I would be the Duke and (Dennis) Hopper would be my Ward Bond; America would be our Natalie Wood. And after a long journey to the East across John Ford’s America, what would become of us? We would be blasted to bits by narrow-minded, redneck poachers at dawn, just outside of Heaven, Florida, and the bed of their pickup would be full of ducks. I mean really full of ducks.”

Fonda’s family has confirmed that he died peacefully at his home in Los Angeles on Friday.

His sister, Jane Fonda, said in a 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.”