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How Did Jenny Die In Forrest Gump? Her Illness Confirmed

How Did Jenny Die In Forrest Gump? Her Illness Confirmed

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Although Jenny reunites with Forrest in Forrest Gump, her story is full of tragedy. From abusive relationships to a struggle with addiction, she didn’t have an easy life while Forrest was off on his own journey.

Jenny and Forrest are only together for a short time before she dies at the end of the movie. It’s a heartbreaking moment for a character as beloved as Forrest. But the movie is a little vague about what caused Jenny’s death.

We’ve got the answer to how Jenny died in Forrest Gump and other burning questions in the article below.

How Did Jenny Die in Forrest Gump?

In Forrest Gump, Jenny dies from “some kind of virus,” which the movie implies is HIV/AIDS. The sequel to the original novel says that Jenny dies from Hepatitis C.

In the movie, Forrest (Tom Hanks) and Jenny (Robin Wright) are constantly running into each other throughout their lives. Although the two care about each other, Jenny’s life is on a downward spiral, and they can never stay in each other’s lives for long.

A major storyline of the film is Jenny struggling with drug abuse during the 60s and 70s. She dies in 1982, when researchers had only just discovered HIV/AIDS were still studying it.

So, when Jenny and Forrest reunite five years after a night of intimacy, she tells him she’s sick with “some kind of virus.” The script never specifies exactly what illness she really has.

But audiences in the 1994 would recognize the cause and effects of HIV/AIDS. The AIDS crisis had reached its peak in the 80s and 90s.

90s audiences would have known that, in addition to being an STD, HIV spreads through sharing drug needles.

In addition, HIV often leads to the development of AIDS. At the end of her life, Jenny looks similar to those in the late stages of AIDS.

Jenny’s history of drug abuse coupled with her sickly appearance would be strong indicators that she had HIV/AIDS.

The Forrest Gump Sequel Would Have Confirmed Jenny’s Illness

The screenwriter for the original Forrest Gump confirmed that Jenny did die of HIV/AIDS.

Eric Roth, the screenwriter who adapted Forrest Gump from the novel, submitted a draft for a sequel that confirmed the popular theory. It had a conflict involving Jenny and Forrest’s son inheriting his mother’s HIV.

“It was gonna start with [Forrest’s] little boy having AIDS,” the writer explained in a 2019 interview with Yahoo Entertainment. The conflict was that no one wanted to be in the class with a child who had AIDS.

And, of course, that almost certainly means Jenny passed the HIV onto her son during her pregnancy.

t’s a somber revelation for such an endearing story, and the reason they cancelled the sequel is even worse. Roth submitted the draft for the sequel on September 10, 2001 – the day before the 9/11 tragedy.

After the news of the terrorist attack broke, Roth found the movie to be “meaningless,” and the filmmakers scrapped the project.

How Old Was Jenny When She Died In Forrest Gump?

Jenny was only 36 years old when she died in Forrest Gump. She and Forrest had one year together as a married couple before she died.

The movie shows Forrest visiting her grave, where he heartbreakingly leaves a letter for her that their son has written.

Forrest Gump standing infornt of Jenny's gravestone in the Forrest Gump movie

Jenny’s gravestone shows that she was born on July 16, 1945, and died on March 22, 1982.

Does Jenny Die In The Forrest Gump Novel?

Jenny dies of Hepatitis C in Gump and Co., the sequel novel to Forrest Gump.

In the original Forrest Gump novel, Jenny doesn’t die, but marries a man named Donald. She and Forrest still have a son together, but Forrest decides to not be a part of their lives since Jenny already has a family.

It’s not until the sequel that Jenny dies. The second novel, which was written after the movie adaptation of the first book, explicitly says Jenny died of Hepatitis C.

Did Jenny Give Forrest An STD?

Although it’s implied Jenny has HIV/AIDS, she doesn’t appear to pass this on to Forrest or their son in the movie.

Although having unprotected sex is risky, it’s not a guarantee that someone will contract HIV after one encounter.

In fact, the chances were less than 1% that Jenny would pass the virus onto Forrest. After they have sex for the first time, Jenny leaves Forrest. The movie never explains why she does so, but she may have felt that she didn’t deserve a good man like Forrest.

Jenny holding her and Forrest Gump's son, Forrest Gump

Whatever the reason, they don’t see each other again for another five years. However, this assumes that they weren’t intimate after they married, either.

If they were, the likelihood of Jenny passing HIV to Forrest increased. But it’s possible they did only sleep together the one time.

It’s also theoretically possible that their son got lucky. Jenny would have about a 25% chance of passing the HIV onto her son. While this is a much higher chance than passing it to Forrest, their son could have been in the lucky 75%.

Even if the sequel did intend to have Forrest, Jr. contract the virus, that movie never came to be. So, the more positive Forrest Gump fans can still believe that Forrest and his son are perfectly healthy after all.