Peter Fonda, younger brother of Jane Fonda and son of legendary actor Henry Fonda, has died at the age of 79.

The official cause of death for the "Easy Rider" star and writer 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," the family said in a statement. "As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy."

The family's statement revealed that Peter passed away peacefully Friday morning "at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by family."

Fonda received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for "Easy Rider," which he co-wrote, produced and co-starred in alongside Jack Nicholson. 

The film turned 50 on July 14th. Rolling Stone reported last month that Fonda had been prepping for a 50th anniversary screening and concert set for Sept. 20 at Radio City Musical Hall in New York City. 

Fonda also received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Ulee Jackson in the 1997 film "Ulee's Gold." 

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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.

Peter Fonda 2018 AP
Peter Fonda arrives at the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in Palm Springs, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

"In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom," the Fonda family statement to PEOPLE finished.

Jane Fonda Halloween 1978 with Peter Fonda
Jane and Peter Fonda, Kristy McNichol and Brooke Shields, from left, arrive at a Halloween Celebrity Disco Dance benefit in Los Angeles, Nov. 1, 1978.
AP

Tributes to Fonda began to fill social media shortly after his death was confirmed. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.