Actor Peter Fonda has died aged 79.

His family said in a statement that Fonda died yesterday morning at his home in Los Angeles.

The official cause of death was respiratory failure due to lung cancer.

Peter Fonda was the son of Hollywood leading man, Henry Fonda, and brother to actress, Jane Fonda.

He earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing the psychedelic road trip movie, 'Easy Rider', which also starred Denis Hopper and Jack Nicholson.

He did not win the Oscar, but would later be nominated for his leading performance as a Vietnam veteran and widowed beekeeper in 'Ulee's Gold'.

Fonda had an estranged relationship with his father throughout most of his life, but said that they grew closer over the years before Henry Fonda died in 1982.

Fonda collaborated with Hopper on the script about two weed-smoking, drug-slinging bikers on a trip through the southwest as they make their way to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

He remained prolific for the rest of his life with notable performances performances as the heel in Steven Soderbergh's 'The Limey', from 1999, and in James Mangold's 2007 update of '3:10 to Yuma'.

Fonda is survived by his third wife, Margaret DeVogelaere, his daughter, actress Bridget Fonda and son, Justin, both from his first marriage to Susan Brewer.

Following her brother's death, Jane Fonda said:  "He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing."

"Peter is all deep sweetness, kind and sensitive to his core. He would never intentionally harm anything or anyone. In fact, he once argued with me that vegetables had souls (it was the '60s)," she said in her 2005 memoir.

"He has a strange, complex mind that grasps and hangs on to details ranging from the minutiae of his childhood to cosmic matters, with a staggering amount in between.

"Dad couldn't appreciate and nurture Peter's sensitivity, couldn't see him as he was.

"Instead he tried to shame Peter into his own image of stoic independence."

Although Peter Fonda never achieved the status of his father or even his older sister, the impact of 'Easy Rider', which just celebrated its 50th anniversary, was enough to cement his place in popular culture.

Fonda's character Wyatt wore a stars-and-stripes helmet and rode a motorcycle called "Captain America," re-purposing traditional images for the counterculture.

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 it was included in the United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."