Author Tom Wolfe dead at 87

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- Tom Wolfe, whose 1979 book "The Right Stuff" chronicled the high-flying adventures of the first US astronauts, has died at the age of 88. Additional details were not immediately available. Wolfe was associated with other New Journalism writers like Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion and Truman Capote.

The "new journalism" reporter and novelist insisted that the only way to tell a great story was to go out and report it.

Wolfe had been living in New York since 1962, when he started reporting for the New York Herald Tribune.

Tom Wolfe, author of "The Right Stuff" and "Bonfire of the Vanities", died Monday in a Manhattan hospital at age 88.

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.

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The film it spawned, however, was a critical and commercial flop, despite starring the likes of stars Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith and Kim Cattrall.

His best-selling book "The Right Stuff" which is about rocket airplane experiments after World War II and the Project Mercury astronauts, won the American Book Award for nonfiction, the National Institute of Arts and Letters Harold Vursell Award for prose style, and the Columbia Journalism Award.

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).

Wolfe became a major figure in the NY social scene, identified with his distinct personal style - typified by a white, 3-piece suit.