His death on Monday was confirmed by his agent, Ms Lynn Nesbit, who said Wolfe had been hospitalised in a Manhattan hospital with an infection.
Tom Wolfe, the debonair essayist and author of landmark non-fiction and novels including The Right Stuff and Bonfire Of The Vanities, who also helped create the immersive New Journalism literary movement, has died.
Wolfe was known primarily for his reach within the field of New Journalism, a reporting style that emerged in the 1960s and '70s characterized by novelistic writing and literary storytelling techniques.
Wolfe worked as a reporter at the Springfield Union in MA and as the Latin American correspondent for the Washington Post. Wolfe had taken a then-unusual path to writing, for an establishment kid from Richmond, Virginia, taking a PhD in American Studies, a discipline which emphasised the importance of everyday life.
Wolfe's other books include "The Pump House Gang", "Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers", "The Painted Word" and "Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine" which includes his well-known essay about the 'Me Decade'.
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.
In 1979, he published The Right Stuff, a portrait of American heroism, viewed through the exploits of military test pilots and astronauts known as the Mercury Seven, which was made into a successful movie in 1983. It followed the greed, racism and social classes of New York City in the 1980s. He is survived by his wife Sheila and son Tommy.