Alcohol, Valium caused Thomas Kinkade's death, coroner finds
The Santa Clara County coroner's office closed the case of famed painter Thomas Kinkade, announcing Tuesday that he died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium.
The findings come after some people close to the painter, including his brother, said he had been battling a drinking problem in recent years. His girlfriend told police that Kinkade had been drinking heavily before his death.
The coroner cited "ethanol and Diazepam intoxication, or in common terms, alcohol and the tranquilizer often marketed as Valium," according to the Associated Press.
Kinkade, known as the "Painter of Light," died April 6 at his home in Monte Sereno, a community near Los Gatos in the Bay Area.
Millions of Kinkade's paintings and prints hang in homes around the world, popularity that translated into more than $50 million in earnings for the artist from 1997 to 2005. Lauded for his generosity, he once gave an Anaheim widow $25,000 worth of his art to replace what she'd lost in a fire.
Kinkade’s brother Patrick told the Mercury News last month that years of mean-spirited personal attacks on the painter and a split from his wife and four daughters had worn Kinkade down. That led to a battle with alcoholism over the last four to five years, according to the report.
Photo: Artist Thomas Kinkade unveils his painting "Prayer for Peace" in Atlanta on Sept. 15, 2006. Credit: Gene Blythe / Associated Press