Writer Winston Groom, whose novel Forrest Gump was made into the hugely successful Oscar-winning 1994 film starring Tom Hanks, has died aged 77.
The book, about the childlike optimism of a slow-thinking but kind-hearted man, won six Oscars including best film and actor, plus three Golden Globes.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis and also starring Sally Field and Robin Wright, it made $683m (£526m).
Groom’s death was confirmed by Alabama governor Kay Ivey.
“Saddened to learn that Alabama has lost one of our most gifted writers,” she wrote on Facebook, referencing Groom’s time at university there, graduating in 1965.
“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.”
Alabama University called Groom “one of our legends”.
After gaining his degree, he was in the US Army, which included a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, before working as reporter. He wrote Forrest Gump in 1985 and it was published the following year.
The film, seen through the eyes of Forrest Gump, has the presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson as a backdrop, along with the Vietnam War and Watergate.
Throughout it all, Gump’s main desire is to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart, played by Wright.
Memorable quotes from Forrest Gump include the famous advice from his mother: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna 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.