In Memoriam Tom Wolfe

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Tom Wolfe, the groundbreaking American journalist and novelist best known for "The Right Stuff" and "The Bonfire of the Vanities", has died, USA media reported on Tuesday.

The writer died of an infection in a hospital in NY on Monday, his agent Lynn Nesbit told The Associated Press. Wolfe was associated with other New Journalism writers like Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion and Truman Capote.

His agent, Lynn Nesbit confirmed his death. His novels "The Right Stuff" and "The Bonfire of the Vanities" both became major Hollywood films in 1983 and 1990 respectfully, Wolfe also wrote 1998's Almost Heroes with the late Chris Farley.

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A pioneer of new journalism, Wolfe wove ornate tapestries through his fervent prosaic style and vivid storytelling techniques.

In 2015, I was deep into work on my first big nonfiction book, "Fantasyland", when I realized I was once again standing on his shoulders. In 1979, he published the book The Right Stuff about the Mercury Seven astronauts. These antique ankle-protectors and a silver-topped cane often complemented the white suits he always wore in public. Wolfe had taken a then-unusual path to writing, for an establishment kid from Richmond, Virginia, taking a PhD in American Studies, a discipline which emphasised the importance of everyday life.

"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.

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"To be honest, I have only five more planned".

The editor of the New York Times described Wolfe's passing as the "passing of an era". We even asked him to contribute, but he politely declined - he was finishing up a novel, he informed us, his first, at age 56.

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

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