Pioneering journalist, writer Tom Wolfe dies at age 88

Writer Tom Wolfe speaks at the Norman Mailer Center 2nd Annual Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 19, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Norman Mailer Center)

Author Tom Wolfe, who chronicled everything from hippies to the space race before turning his sharp eye to fiction, has died. He was 88.

Wolfe's agent Lynn Nesbit told The Associated Press that Wolfe died in a New York City hospital. Additional details were not immediately available.

The "new journalism" reporter and novelist insisted that the only way to tell a great story was to go out and report it. His writing style was rife with exclamation points, italics and improbable words.

Among his acclaimed books were "The Right Stuff" and "The Bonfire of the Vanities," a satire of Manhattan-style power and justice that became one of the best-selling books of the '80s.