'Bonfire of Vanities' author Tom Wolfe dies aged 87

His agent said he died in a hospital in New York

'Bonfire of Vanities' author Tom Wolfe dies aged 87

Tom Wolfe is pictured at home in New York in January 1988 | Image: Ulf Andersen / Aurimages/Zuma Press/PA Images

Updated: 18.05

Tom Wolfe, the US journalist and author best known for 'The Bonfire of the Vanities', has died at 87.

His agent Lynn Nesbit told The Associated Press that the writer died in a hospital in New York.

As a reporter, Wolfe became part of the 'new journalism' movement of the 1960s and 70s, which featured the likes of Truman Capote, Hunter S Thompson and Norman Mailer.

He believed that the only way to tell a great story was to go out and report it.

His most famous work was his bestseller 'Bonfire of the Vanities' - an epic satire on social class, ambition, racism, politics and greed in 1980s New York.

Published in 1987, it became one of the best-selling books of the decade and has often been called the quintessential novel of the era.

A film based on the book was a critical and commercial flop - despite starring the likes of stars Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith and Kim Cattrall.

In a career spanning more than half a century, Wolfe wrote fiction and non-fiction bestsellers, starting with 'The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby' (1965).

'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test' (1968) chronicled the rise of the hippy generation, while 'Radical Chic' (1970) mocked the pretensions of Manhattan liberals and 'The Painted Word' (1975) those of the art world.

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.

Wolfe was well-known for being a stylish dresser, often photographed in his trademark white suit.

He is survived by his wife, Sheila, and two children Tommy and Alexandra.