The late actor went on to act in movies like Ulee's GoldThe Hired Hand, and 3:10 to Yuma

Peter Fonda‘s breakthrough hit ended up being quite the profitable movie.

The late actor died earlier this month at 79 of respiratory lung failure during his battle with lung cancer — 50 years after he became a household name thanks to his unforgettable role in 1969’s Easy Rider. The movie, which also launched Jack Nicholson’s career, was made on a small $400,00 budget, but it was a blockbuster hit after it went on to make $60 million.

Fonda went on to act in movies like Ulee’s Gold, The Hired Hand, and 3:10 to Yuma. He also directed a number of projects and earned himself several accolades along the way, including four Golden Globe nominations (two of which he won), one Emmy nomination and earned another Oscar nomination for Ulee’s Gold.

But Fonda once said he didn’t mind if his career never matched friend Nicholson’s, or famous sister Jane’s. What mattered most was how he and his dad Henry had a breakthrough before he died in 1982.

When his father told him how much he loved him, Peter wrote in his 1998 memoir Don’t Tell Dad, “I hugged him so hard, I could feel the pacemaker in his chest.”

easy rider
Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in Easy Rider
| Credit: Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty

Peter’s family confirmed the sad news in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE and said that the two-time Oscar-nominee died after suffering respiratory failure due to lung cancer.

“It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away,” the family said. “[Peter] passed away peacefully on Friday morning, August 16 at 11:05 a.m. at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by family.”

“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,” they wrote.

“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,” the Fonda family finished. “In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom.”

More recently, Peter was featured on television series, including CSI: NY, Hawaii Five-O, The Blacklist, and Milo Murphy’s Law.

At the time of his death, he was in pre-production for a movie called Skate God, expected to release in 2020, according to his IMDb. The last film he acted in was The Last Full Measure which is expected to be released later this year.