Fans around the world are mourning the death of Hollywood legend Peter Fonda. The 79-year-old passed away on Friday morning, per People. The cause of death was released as respiratory failure stemming from lung cancer.
“It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away,” his family announced in a statement.
“[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.”
As reported by The Inquisitr, Fonda had reached near icon status as a counter-culture revolutionary of the 1960s. He starred in the cult classic film Easy Rider, as well as hits such as Ulee’s Gold and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.
Though Fonda had not previously disclosed his diagnosis with his fans, The Inquisitr noted that he had recently been in and out of the hospital for his ailment. Respiratory failure is particularly common in the late stages of lung cancer.
Unfortunately, lung cancer affects one in every 16 people in the United States, and a new diagnosis is made every two and a half minutes. Though it only accounts for 13 percent of all cancer diagnoses, it is incredibly deadly, claiming the lives of 25 percent of all cancer victims, according to Lungevity.
Though lung cancer can affect anyone, it is most common in smokers. Unfortunately, smoking was nearly ubiquitous during the ’60s, and Fonda, as a counter-culture rebel in the ’60s, was no stranger to cigarettes. That said, the habit was also shared by his sister, actress Jane Fonda, as well as his father, Oscar winner Henry Fonda. Old-school cool photos can even be seen of Peter Fonda smoking a cigarette while on his motorcycle.
However, though Peter may have smoked while younger, he told the Los Angeles Times that he gave up the habit in later years.
“Fonda gave up cigarettes and coffee ages ago, and wouldn’t dream of drinking Los Angeles water, much less wash his hair with it–he uses distilled water instead,” the newspaper wrote in a 1997 article.
Fonda even joked about giving up cigarettes in an article with The A.V. Club. He said that he didn’t know what to do after he was given a gold engraved lighter by the Canadian Film Industry.
“Well, I don’t smoke cigarettes,” Fonda confessed he replied, earning some laughter from the audience.
The actor was beloved by his family and fans alike, and the statement announcing his death encouraged fans to toast the beloved actor by raising “a glass to freedom.”