Felker's death was confirmed by his wife, the writer Gail Sheehy, The New York Times reported. He had been suffering from throat cancer.
A native of Missouri, Felker graduated from Duke University and came to New York to work for Life magazine. He was also an editor at Esquire before joining the New York Herald-Tribune.
Felker founded New York magazine as a Sunday supplement to the Herald-Tribune. When the newspaper collapsed, he and designer Milton Glaser refounded it as a glossy weekly.
New York combined edgy Manhattan-centered reporting with Felder's "secret weapon" -- information on restaurants, shopping, cultural events and neighborhoods.
In 1977, Felker was forced out of the magazine in a power struggle with Rupert Murdoch. He also founded a West Coast magazine called New West.
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