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'Easy Rider' star Peter Fonda dead at 79

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Actor Peter Fonda, who co-wrote and starred in the seminal 1960s counterculture film "Easy Rider," has died. He was 79.

Peter Fonda poses during the red carpet prior to the opening ceremony of the Guadalajara International Film Festival 2019 at Auditorio Telmex on March, 8, 2019 in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Photo by Leonardo Alvarez Hernandez/Getty Images)

In a statement obtained by Fox News, Fonda's family said that the actor  -- the son of Henry Fonda and the younger brother of Jane Fonda -- died Friday morning at his Los Angeles home after suffering respiratory failure due to lung cancer.

From left: Peter Fonda, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda, circa 1963.

From left: Peter Fonda, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda, circa 1963. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

“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," the family statement said. “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.”

Born into Hollywood royalty, Peter carved his own path with his non-conformist tendencies. He earned a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for co-writing "Easy Rider," but lost out to William Goldman's script for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Nearly three decades later, Fonda snagged a Best Actor nomination for his work in 1997's "Ulee’s Gold." He lost out to contemporary Jack Nicholson's turn in "As Good As It Gets," but did snag a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Movie for his work in the 1999 Showtime original "The Passion of Ayn Rand."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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