'Easy Rider' star Peter Fonda dies at 79 after battle with lung cancer

Actor Peter Fonda, Hollywood icon and younger brother of Jane Fonda, has passed away. He was 79.

Fonda's family told People Magazine that the actor died after suffering respiratory failure from complications with 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," the family said in a statement. "As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy."

Peter was best known for his starring role as Wyatt in 1969's "Easy Rider." The actor also starred in films including "Ulee's Gold," "The Hired Hand," and "The Trip."

Fonda received an Oscar nomination for writing "Easy Rider," as well as a nomination for Best Actor for his role in "Ulee's Gold." 

Fonda produced "Easy Rider" and Hopper directed it for a meager $380,000. It went on to gross $40 million worldwide, a substantial sum for its time.

The film was a hit at Cannes, netted a best-screenplay Oscar nomination for Fonda, Hopper and Terry Southern, and has since been listed on the American Film Institute's ranking of the top 100 American films. The establishment gave its official blessing in 1998 when "Easy Rider" was included in the United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

According to TMZ, Fonda was planning a concert and screening of "Easy Rider" in September to celebrate the film's 50th anniversary. 

Fonda was born in New York in 1940 and was only 10 years old when his mother Frances Ford Seymour died. Fonda had an estranged relationship with his father, but said that they grew closer over the years before Henry Fonda died in 1982.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.