Pioneering journalist Tom Wolfe has died at the age of 88

ImageTom Wolfe in 1988. He was known for his verbal pyrotechnics in books like “The Right Stuff.”CreditÁngel Franco  The New York Times

Author Tom Wolfe, known for Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff, has died at the age of 88.

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.

Wolfe was instantly recognizable in his trademark white suit, which he started wearing nearly year round in 1962. His death was confirmed by his agent, Lynn Nesbit.

In the collection Wolfe wrote, "The most important literature being written in America today is in nonfiction". He later left for Washington, then New York, arriving there in 1962 to work for The New York Herald Tribune.

Wolfe traveled during the '60s with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters for his book on the psychedelic culture, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. John Irving angrily denounced Wolfe by saying, "I can't read him because he's such a bad writer". "The Painted Word" targeted the world of art.

Born and Raised in Richmond, Virginia, to an agronomist father and a mother who was a landscape architect, Wolfe traced his love for literature to the books his parents kept on their bookshelves.

Wolfe didn't begin his novels with a character and a plot so much as an idea, Tom Vitale of NPR explained. And one of his best-regarded books, "The Right Stuff", which was later made into a movie, showcased the heroism of the first American astronauts. Wolfe slammed both Charles Darwin and linguist Noam Chomsky in the book.

Wolfe's other big-screen adaptation, the 1990 comedy The Bonfire of the Vanities, was based on his 1987 novel about amorality and excess in 1980s New York City. He is survived by his wife Sheila and son Tommy.

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