Known for ingenious phrase-making and white suits, he chronicled USA culture across five decades through books such as The Bonfire Of The Vanities, The Right Stuff and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
The writer died of an infection in a hospital in NY on Monday, his agent Lynn Nesbit told The Associated Press. He had been hospitalised with an infection.
Wolfe, who produced nine non-fiction books from 1965 to 1981, had lived in New York since joining The New York Herald Tribune as a reporter in 1962.
Wolfe worked as a reporter at the Springfield Union in MA and as the Latin American correspondent for the Washington Post. Wolfe himself coined the term in 1973 when he published a book of articles called The New Journalism, featuring the likes of Truman Capote, Joan Didion and Gay Talese, who penned the famous literary-style profile "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold".
His contributions to American literature were varied and very influential in the '60s and '70s when he wrote "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", "Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers", "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby".
While the stories have no connecting theme, this is the first book that gave early examples of New Journalism.
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 his space-race classic The Right Stuff - the American Book Award victor - he combined the emotional impact of a novel with the factual foundation of hard reporting. He is survived by his wife Sheila and son Tommy.