Former New York Observer editor Peter Kaplan dies at 59

Former New York Observer editor Peter Kaplan has died at age 59.

Kaplan's wife, Lisa Chase, said he died Friday of cancer in New York City.

Kaplan edited the weekly Observer from 1994 to 2009.

He was credited with honing the paper's snarky tone and with hiring writers who became influential voices of their era.

Kaplan hired a then-unknown Candace Bushnell to write a column about love and dating in 1994. Bushnell's column, "Sex and the City," inspired the hit HBO series starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

More recently Kaplan served as editorial director of Fairchild Fashion Media, a division of Conde Nast Publications.

In addition to his wife, Kaplan is survived by their son, David; three children from his first marriage to Audrey Walker and two brothers.