Coroner confirms alcohol, Valium killed Thomas Kinkade
The Santa Clara County coroner's office formally announced the cause of death for famed artist Thomas Kinkade on Tuesday.
Officials told the Associated Press that Kinkade died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium. The coroner cited "ethanol and Diazepam intoxication, or in common terms, alcohol and the tranquilizer often marketed as Valium," according to AP.
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 alone. 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.
The paper reported earlier that Kinkade's girlfriend had told police that the painter had been drinking heavily before his death.
— Robert J. Lopez and Shelby Grad
Photo: Artist Thomas Kinkade unveils his painting "Prayer for Peace" in Atlanta on Sept. 15, 2006. Credit: Gene Blythe / Associated Press