WASHINGTON: Renowned US novelist Winston Groom has died at the age of 77, said the mayor of the Alabama city where he lived.
He authored “Forrest Gump”, the 1986 American novel that inspired the classic film.
“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,” wrote Mayor Karin Wilson on Facebook on Thursday.
Groom’s book “Forest Gump” did not find widespread success until the release of the film of the same name in 1994, which starred Tom Hanks and won six Oscars including best picture.
The plot centers on the life of a kind man with learning difficulties whose life mirrors key events in America in the 20th century.
Boosted by the film’s popularity, it eventually sold 1.7 million copies, according to the entertainment industry news site Deadline.
“Saddened to learn that Alabama has lost one of our most gifted writers,” said the state’s Governor Kay Ivey on Twitter.
“While he will be remembered for creating Forrest Gump, Winston Groom was a talented journalist & noted author of American history. Our hearts & prayers are extended to his family.”
Groom was born in Washington and grew up in Alabama, where he studied English and decided to become a writer, according to an online biography on a local heritage website written by Serena Blount from the University of Alabama.
As a student he served in the US army and did a tour of Vietnam, which inspired much of his writing, and later worked as a journalist before becoming a full-time novelist.