Wolfe's agent Lynn Nesbit told The Associated Press that he died in a New York City hospital.
In 2013, the NYPL acquired Wolfe's entire archive, including drafts and outlines for "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" and "The Right Stuff", dozens of notebooks and countless notes detailing his development of New Journalism, and more than 10,000 letters including correspondence with Hunter S. Thompson and William F. Buckley.
Around this time, he began working as a journalist, moving to New York in 1962 for a position at The New York Herald Tribune.
Multiple outlets credit Wolfe as a creator of "New Journalism", a style that combined traditional reporting and immersive writing. In 1979, he published the book The Right Stuff about the Mercury Seven astronauts.
Wolfe was also famous for his dapper "Southern gentleman" look, often appearing in public in a pristine white suit, white homburg hat, and two-tone shoes.
His first try at fiction was The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1987, which captured the cultural feel of free-wheeling Wall Street "masters of the universe" as well as his non-fiction books did.
"He is probably the most skillful writer in America - I mean by that he can do more things with words than anyone else", wrote William F. Buckley in the pages of the National Review.
Tom Wolfe had only one thing about him that was informal and unfussy in his later life, and that was his first name. Wolfe is survived by his wife, Sheila, and two children, Alexandra and Tommy.