According to CNN, citing his agent, Lynn Nesbit, shortly before his death, Wolfe was in the hospital with an infection.
From 1965 to 1981, Wolfe produced nine nonfiction books.
Wolfe, who has lived in New York since joining The New York Herald Tribune in 1962, helped create the enormously influential hybrid known as New Journalism.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that Wolfe's "wry wit and sharp observations defined an era of life in New York".
In 1951 he graduated from Washington and Lee University, and in 1957 received his PhD in Yelsk University, majoring in American studies. Wolfe penned the script, while Sam Shepard, Dennis Quaid, and Ed Harris starred in the film.
Before moving to NY in the 60s, Wolfe worked as a reporter at the Springfield Union in MA and as the Latin American correspondent for The Washington Post.More news: Shiite Cleric Sadr Takes Surprise Lead In Iraq Parliamentary Election
Wolfe complained that novelists did not bring enough reality to their books, and while bemoaning the state of American literature, offered himself as an exemplar of what it should be. He "already was celebrated for his journalism and nonfiction when, "What does he do?"
In the 1980s, Wolfe turned his attention to fiction, and his novel "The Bonfire of the Vanities" (1987) which was originally published as a serial in Rolling Stone, offered a scathing critique of the moral and financial excesses of the 1980s.
His second novel "A Man in Full" (1998) which recounts a tale of scheming in Atlanta High Society, was also a commercial success with the reading public.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sheila, daughter Alexandra Wolfe, 37, a writer for the The Wall Street Journal and son Tommy, 32, a sculptor.