NEW YORK — Roger Wood, who became editor of the New York Post shortly after it was purchased by Rupert Murdoch and shaped the feisty tabloid into what it is today, has died. He was 87.

The Post reported that Wood died on Friday after a long struggle with cancer. Murdoch said he was “a truly exceptional editor” who led the Post to a circulation gain from 400,000 to nearly 1 million during his nine-year tenure.

Wood guided the paper through a period of rampant crime and social upheaval when the city teetered on insolvency. The Post became known for its unflinching coverage of the city’s gritty side as well as its celebrities and political moguls.

The Belgian-born Wood was promoted in 1986 to editorial director of News America, supervising the company’s American newspapers.