Painter Thomas Kinkade died of accidental acute intoxication from alcohol and an anti-anxiety medication, an autopsy report revealed late Monday.
The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office reported Thomas Kinkade’s cause of death as “acute ethanol and Diazepam intoxication” and manner of death as “accident”, according to NBC Bay Area.
Diazepam is the active ingredient in name-brand drug Valium.
The self-proclaimed Painter of Light Thomas Kinkade, whose works captivated millions of Americans despite the scorn of many art critics, died in April at his home in Northern California at the age of 54.
The coroner’s report also said the painter suffered from “hypertensive and atherosclerotic heart disease”.
In layman’s terms, Thomas Kinkade had high blood pressure and thickened artery walls in his heart due to high cholesterol.
The painter’s brother told the San Jose Mercury News newspaper that the painter had battled alcoholism for several years and suffered a relapse before he died.
Patrick Kinkade said his brother had been burdened in recent years by a separation from his wife, financial troubles and the low opinion of his work by critics.
Thomas Kinkade was arrested for drunk driving in 2010, the same year his company filed for bankruptcy.
Art galleries reported a surge in sales of Thomas Kinkade’s paintings following his death.
Thomas Kinkade’s scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes led to a commercial empire that was said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales. The artist’s paintings hang in an estimated one out of every 20 homes in the United States.
A key feature of Thomas Kinkade’s paintings is their glowing highlights and saturated pastel colors. His works often portray bucolic, idyllic settings such as gardens, streams, stone cottages, and main streets.
The painter is notable for the mass marketing of his work as printed reproductions and other licensed products through his company The Thomas Kinkade Company.
The prices of his painting’s range from $200 to more than $10,000.
“Thomas Kinkade, the celebrated <<Painter of Light>> is one of the most widely collected and beloved artists of our day,“ his official website says.
“Each year millions of people are drawn to the luminous light and tranquil mood of Kinkade’s paintings and include his creations in their lives through prints, books, and other fine collectibles.”
The University of California Berkeley graduate was a devout Christian and has said his inspiration comes from his religious beliefs and that his work is intended to contain a larger moral meaning.
“I try to create paintings that are a window for the imagination,” Thomas Kinkade said on his website.
“If people look at my work and are reminded of the way things once were or perhaps the way they could be, then I’ve done my job.”