Forrest Gump author Winston Groom has died aged 77.
The author and journalist’s death was confirmed by Mayor of Fairhope, Alabama, Karin Wilson, who wrote on Facebook: ‘It is with great sadness that I share the passing of our dear friend Winston Groom. The City of Fairhope has lost an iconic author today.
‘Please keep his friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.’
Alabama governor Kay Ivey also paid tribute, saying: ‘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.’
Groom worked as a reporter after serving in the United States Army from 1965 until 1967, including a tour in the Vietnam War.
However, he resigned to become a novel writer, and published his first book in 1978.
His third book, 1982’s Conversations With The Enemy, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist – but it was his 1986 book, Forrest Gump, that shot him to bestseller status.
The novel wasn’t actually a hit upon its release, but after it was adapted into a film in 1994, Forest Gump sold 1.7 million copies worldwide.
The movie, starring Tom Hanks as the titular character – a slow-witted but kind-hearted man from Alabama -, was a cultural sensation and grossed more than $680 million (£520m) at the box office.
Forrest Gump won six Oscars, including best picture and best actor for Hanks.
Groom wrote a sequel to the story in 1995 called Gump and Co.
The author wrote eight fiction books in his career as well as 14 non-fiction books on a range of topics including the American Civil War.
His final fiction novel, El Paso, was published in 2016, followed by the non-fiction book The Allies: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the Unlikely Alliance That Won World War II in 2018.
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