In 1965, he released his first book, "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby," a series of essays about the flamboyant 1960s written for Esquire and New York magazine. By then, The Washington Post reported, Wolfe was "one of the most famous and influential writers of his generation."
Esquire managing editor Byron Dobell described in a 2015 interview with Vanity Fair what it was like to first read Wolfe's essay on the culture surrounding custom-made cars in California, included in "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby."
“Wherever it came from, it seemed to me to tap a strain of pure American humor that wasn’t being tapped,” Dobell told the magazine. “He didn’t sound like Truman Capote or Lillian Ross … or anyone else.”
He went on to write several critically acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. Among his other works are 1968's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," 1979's "The Right Stuff" and 2004's "I Am Charlotte Simmons," among others.
He is survived by his wife, Sheila; his daughter, Alexandra and his son, Tommy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.