Author Winston Groom, whose novel Forrest Gump was adapted into the 1994 film starring Tom Hanks, has died aged 77.
Groom was best known for the 1986 novel, which follows the kind yet simple-minded Alabama-based Forrest, who despite his low IQ, becomes a celebrated American football player, a war hero, a ping-pong champion, a stunt man and the founder of a successful shrimp company.
Forrest Gump was made into a film starring Tom Hanks as the titular character alongside Sally Field and Robin Wright, which went on to receive six Oscars and three Golden Globes.
Groom, who was born in Washington DC but raised in Alabama, also penned a sequel to Forrest Gump, titled Gump and Co, as well as six other novels and 14 non-fiction books, the latest of which was published in 2018.
Alabama governor Kay Ivey announced the critically-acclaimed author’s death on Twitter, writing: “Saddened to learn that Alabama has lost one of our most gifted writers.”
“While he will be remembered for creating Forrest Gump, Winston Groom was a talented journalist and noted author of American history. Our hearts and prayers are extended to his family.”
The University of Alabama, where Groom studied as a young adult, also paid tribute to the writer, tweeting: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of one of our legends, Winston Groom…Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time.”
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump became the second highest-grossing film of 1994, while its soundtrack, which featured tracks by Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and The Doors, sold over 12 million copies worldwide.
The comedy-drama won Hanks an Academy Award for Best Actor, his second consecutive Oscar after winning for his performance in legal drama Philadelphia the year before.