Southern author Winston Groom, the military historian and University of Alabama graduate best known for the 1986 fiction novel Forrest Gump, died yesterday (Sept. 17) at age 77.
"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," Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement.
Groom passed away in Fairhope, Ala., as confirmed by the city's mayor, Karin Wilson. No word yet on his cause of death.
The Robert Zemeckis directed film Forrest Gump became one of the biggest films of the 1994. It starred Tom Hanks and won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The bestseller that inspired the film covered many of Groom's favorite topics, from his time spent serving his country during the Vietnam War to Coach Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide.
The book Forrest Gump, which sold around 30,000 copies before the film generated Oscar buzz, went on to dominate the New York Times Bestsellers list.
Groom's other written works include such non-fiction works as Pulitzer Prize finalist Conversations With the Enemy and three deep dive into the American Civil War, Shiloh, 1862; Vicksburg, 1863; and Shrouds of Glory: From Atlanta to Nashville: The Last Great Campaign of the Civil War. Additional work as a novelist includes his 1978 debut Better Times Than These, 1980's As Summers Die, the 1995 Forrest Gump sequel Gump and Co., 1998 thriller Such a Pretty, Pretty Girl and his final novel, 2016's El Paso.
More recent works include 2013's The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight and 2015's The Generals: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, and the Winning of World War II.
Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Mobile County, Ala., Groom served in the US Army after graduating from Alabama. He worked as a journalist for the Washington Star before becoming a respected historian and American novelist.