What Did Jenny Die From In Forrest Gump? – Possible theories

“Run, Forrest, Run!” We always remember this iconic line from the movie, Forrest Gump. Besides the other line “Life-is-like-a-box-of-chocolates…” we remember the powerful phrase from little Jenny.

Jenny is Forrest’s best friend and love of his life. Most of his life, this love is not reciprocated. Abused as a child by her father, she realizes Forrest is her only friend.  His learning issues and her need for emotional stability pushes her away from him.

Eventually, she rejects him.

What Did Jenny Die From In Forrest Gump


  1. The Background Story
  2. Jenny Died From HIV/AIDS
  3. Jenny Died from Hep C
  4. The Book
  5. The Real Reason Jenny Died

The Background Story

Many years, and many trials later, the two are reunited, Jenny reveals to Forrest two things. She has a son for him and that she is dying. Baffled doctors are unable to identify the cause of her illness.

They only know that time is limited.

What Did Jenny Die From In Forrest Gump

Jenny dies after finally finding the thing she searched for her whole life. True love. A sad but tragic end. What she wanted was right in front of her.

Many fans of the show speculate what Jenny died from. There are two possible theories.

Jenny Died From HIV/AIDS

The theory that most fans agree with is that Jenny died from AIDS. Jenny was actively involved in the promiscuous 1970s. Her high drug use and sex life could have exposed her to the disease.

The film never says explicitly what the disease is. This fits with the timeline because the HIV disease was unknown back then. We could assume it was sexually transmitted in the late 70s but she finally succumbed to the disease in the early 80s, as her death is March 22nd,1982.

Jenny Died from Hep C

Other fans think it was Hepatitis C. The constant drug use through needles could have infected Jenny. In the 70s, treatment for the disease was unknown.

This theory brings the question of Forrest and his son, Forrest Jr. Did the two contract the disease as well? We could assume that between the birth of Forrest Jr. and the reuniting of Jenny and Forrest, she could have contracted the disease through drug use.

The Book

Films are sometimes drastically different from the books. In Winston Groom written novel, Jenny did not die. In the follow-up novel Gump and Co, while Forrest played professional football Jenny passes away.

The author reveals that Jenny died from Hep C. Fans of the book may be confused with the movie but directors usually have a license to take the characters where they see fit. It may have been a good opportunity to shed light on the emergence of HIV at the time, without saying it outright.

The Real Reason Jenny Died

So what did Jenny die from in Forrest Gump? The safest thing to say is Jenny died from a broken heart. The constant abuse from her father as a child had a detrimental impact on the rest of her life.

The safest thing to say is Jenny died from a broken heart.

Jenny got close to the wrong crowds so she felt loved. You get the feeling that she would do whatever people asked of her. Jenny would take any kind of abuse, as long as it was not like her father’s.

She could not bring herself to be loved unconditionally by Forrest, as she never understood what true love is. So she kept going back to the lifestyle she knew, which led to her sickness.

If any theory is correct, her outcome could have been different if her childhood circumstances were different.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *