The famed ‘painter of light’ Thomas Kinkade once said that his fervent wish was to make people happy. And judging by the numbers of his painters and copies circulating around the world, he indeed made many thousands of people happy with his work. Kinkade passed away on April 6 in Los Gatos, a suburb in the San Francisco Bay area. He claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist, earning him a reported $100 million a year in sales. It is reported that his work is found in 10 million homes in the United States alone. Before his Media Arts Group went private, the company took in $32 million per quarter from 4,500 dealers across the U.S. The cost of his paintings range from hundreds of dollars to more than $10,000. He often appeared at Christian churches across the country,.
An autopsy is expected on April 9 by the Santa Clara County coroner. No cause of death has been announced for the 54-year-old Kinkade who had been described as a devout Christian. According to business associates and interviews, the successful painted had dealt with his alcohol abuse, and a 2010 mug shot following an arrest went viral after a drunken driving charge. He pleaded no contest to that charge. He had also been separated for more than a year from his wife, Nanette, with who he had four daughters, all of whom had ‘Christian’ as a middle name. "Thom provided a wonderful life for his family," his wife, Nanette Kinkade, said in a statement. "We are shocked and saddened by his death."
Besides his wife, and their daughters Merritt, Chandler, Winsor and Everett, Kinkade is survived by a brother, Pat, who worked for the painter’s company. Thomas Kinkade Co. officials sent a message to distributors on April 6 that the business will continue as usual. A memorial on his website featured Mathew 5:4: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." He was mourned by family and friend at Los Gatos on April 6.