Writer Winston Groom, whose novel Forrest Gump was made into the 1994 Oscar-winning blockbuster film starring Tom Hanks, has died at the age of 77.
The book, about the childish optimism of a slow but generous man, won six Oscars, including Best Picture and Actor, as well as three Golden Globes.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Sally Field and Robin Wright, it grossed $ 683million (£ 526million).
Groom’s death was confirmed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey.
“Sad to hear that Alabama has lost one of our most gifted writers,” she wrote on Facebook, referring to Groom’s time in college there, graduating in 1965.
“Although he is remembered for creating Forrest Gump, Winston Groom was a talented journalist and a recognized author of American history. Our hearts and prayers are extended to his family.
The University of Alabama called Groom “one of our legends”.
After graduating he was in the United States Army, which included a period of service during the Vietnam War, before working as a journalist. He wrote Forrest Gump in 1985 and it was published the following year.
The film, seen through the eyes of Forrest Gump, is set against the backdrop of Kennedy and Johnson’s presidencies, as well as the Vietnam War and Watergate.
In all of this, Gump’s main desire is to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, played by Wright.
Forrest Gump’s memorable quotes include his mother’s famous piece of advice: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” ”
Groom went on to write a follow-up in 1995 called Gump and Co and also wrote non-fiction, including a book on the American Civil War.