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What Really Killed Jenny In Forrest Gump?

"Forrest Gump" is a story about a disabled man (played by the abled Tom Hanks, we should note) achieving an absurd number of dreams and making history multiple times over. It's about how the American dream is a lie we can still make real through our collective attrition. And, well, it's really about anything you feel it should be about. That's the mark of some great works of art.

But one question that can keep some Gump fans awake at night is the exact reason why Jenny Curran (Robin Wright) died toward the end of the movie. One could get poetic and say, "the crushing expectations of being a woman in a man's world," or her past mistakes and traumas catching up with her, but none of those things are likely to be reported as the cause of death on someone's death certificate. Fans don't want to think about it, and many of them want a definitive, concrete answer.

We hear you, and so did "Forrest Gump" screenwriter Eric Roth. Here's Jenny's real cause of death.

Roth all but confirmed Jenny died due to complications from HIV/AIDS

In a 2019 interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Roth spoke about the screenplay for a "Forrest Gump" sequel he had finished and turned in right before the September 11 attacks, which rendered his story and message "meaningless" in his eyes. However, the story he had meant to write would have featured similar dark humor to the original, while also commenting on more modern topics of American life as Forrest Gump grows older and takes care of Jenny's son, who may have contracted HIV from his mother during childbirth.

"It was gonna start with his little boy having AIDS," Roth told Yahoo! Entertainment. "And people wouldn't go to class with him in Florida. We had a funny sequence where they were [desegregation] busing in Florida at the same time, so people were angry about either the busing, or [their] kids having to go to school with the kid who had AIDS. So there was a big conflict."

"Forrest Gump" is not the type of story to definitively confirm nor deny any mysteries that work better because of their uncertainty, but this storyline all but confirms that Jenny had contracted the virus and that it evolved into a disease that ended up killing her.