Author Tom Wolfe dies aged 88

Tom Wolfe, innovative journalist and best-selling author of The Right Stuff and Bonfire of the Vanities, died Monday in a Manhattan hospital.

How did Tom Wolfe die? Newsy confirmed through his agent Lynn Nesbit that he was 88.

Wolfe started as a reporter at the Springfield (Massachusetts) Union before moving onto the Washington Post.

In 1962, he was hired by The New York Herald Tribune, where his editor, Clay Felker, encouraged him to try new avenues in journalism that broke with standard objective reporting.

Known as the father of "New Journalism", a form of news writing that employed literary techniques and first-person experience, Wolfe dissected the underbelly of American life, exploring the intricacies of people who frolicked in the perch of power and those who tripped on acid through the counter-culture revolution.

That led to a compilation of Wolfe's magazine pieces, followed by "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", which captured the spirit of the psychedelic era during his time with Kesey, author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", and his band of pranksters who helped spread the popularity of LSD in California.

The book became a bestseller, and established Wolfe as a leading figure in the "New Journalism" movement, which also included in its ranks Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer and Truman Capote.

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. He wrote the work as a series of stories written on deadline every two weeks for Rolling Stone in 1984 and 1985.

A dapper dresser and NY icon, Wolfe was known for his trademark white suits, homburg hats and white kid gloves.

Wolfe was born March 2, 1930 and grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the son of an agronomist father and an arts-oriented mother.

Correction: an earlier version of this article reported the wrong age for Wolfe.

A scathing takedown of greed and excess in NY, it was recognized as an essential American novel of the 1980s and was made into a film starring Tom Hanks.

Vanessa Coleman

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