Wolfe's agent Lynn Nesbit confirmed to the Associated Press that Wolfe died of an infection in a New York City hospital.
Wolfe worked at The Washington Post and the New York Herald Tribune, where he developed "New Journalism", a style marked by interior monologues and eccentric language. He edited the influential collection The New Journalism, which included essays by Joan Didion, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and others.
Tom Wolfe, the innovative journalist and author who wrote such best-selling masterpieces as "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and "The Right Stuff" has passed away. He first came to wide notice with the 1968 novel The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, an account of counterculture icon Ken Kesey and friends, aka the Merry Pranksters, traveling the country in their painted bus and the adventures they experienced.
Later, Wolfe published his first novel, "The Bonfire of the Vanities", in 1987, which was adapted into a film by Brian De Palma in 1990.
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In 2016, Wolfe published his last book, "The Kingdom of Speech", which sought to challenge society's understanding of Darwinism.
Known for his white suits and fierce wit, Wolfe was the creator of "New Journalism", a style pioneered in the 1960s and 1970s which emphasised "truth" over facts.
Trained as a journalist, Wolfe was equally adept at non-fiction and fiction in a career that spanned over half a century. "And one ... coming up is on political correctness, which I think is the funniest subject in a long - in a long, long time", Wolfe said.
"To be honest, I have only five more planned".