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Thomas Kinkade died peacefully in sleep, girlfriend says

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Thomas Kinkade

As the Coroner’s Office Santa Clara County is trying to determine how painter Thomas Kinkade is dead, a close friend said he went peacefully in his sleep.

Kinkade died suddenly Friday at 54. The coroner performed an autopsy Monday, but it is unclear when the office will issue a final cause of death.

Amy Pinto, identified by the San Jose Mercury News Kinkade’s girlfriend, was at his home in Monte Sereno, a wealthy enclave near Los Gatos in the Bay Area, and said that the painter died in his sleep.

Cindy Lemus, who works in administrative support for the coroner’s office said medical tests are planned for all those who died during the weekend in Santa Clara County. “All examinations of the weekend will take place this morning,” she said.

She said the coroner’s office has a policy of not releasing the cause of death to anyone, but the next of kin, which seems inconsistent California law stipulates that all coroner’s reports are made public.

Kinkade family attributed his death to natural causes, but the exact cause of death will be determined by the coroner.

“We are shocked and saddened by his death,” his wife, Nanette Kinkade, which he had been separated for over a year, said in a statement.

In the last decade, he had been locked in legal battles with former owners Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery, including some accused in lawsuits of trade heavily on his Christian beliefs, even as he drove them into financial ruin.

He had fought against alcohol abuse, former associates said in court records and interviews, and in 2010 his mug shot went viral after his arrest on a drunken driving charge for which he later pleaded not challenge.

“The history and legacy of Thomas Kinkade is a story of triumph and tragedy, which I think everyone can earn to pay attention to,” said Terry Sheppard, a friend Kinkade former company vice president who parted with the painter in 2003.

Besides his wife he is survived by his daughters, Merritt, Chandler, Winsor and Everett, and a brother, Pat, who worked for the company Kinkade.

On Saturday, Thomas Kinkade Co. officials sent a message to distributors that the company will continue, saying that “his art and the powerful message of inspiration will live on.”

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Thomas Kinkade dies at age 54 at his California home

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Thomas Kinkade dies at age 54 at his California home

Thomas Kinkade, one of the most popular artists in America, has died at his California home, his family said. He was 54. Family and friends recalled the artist as a generous man, who inspired others and will missed.

“He had a rare ability to exude a sense of warmth, a transcendent light,” said Robert Goodwin, who wrote the book “Points of Light: A Celebration of the American Spirit of Giving,” with Kinkade. “He had a great commitment to inspire others — one who was nurtured in his early life by family and friends and church to really be an example of selfless acts of service,” he said Saturday.

Kinkade’s death at his Los Gatos home appeared to be from natural causes, according to the family. “Thom provided a wonderful life for his family,” his wife, Nanette, said in a statement late Friday night. “We are shocked and saddened by his death.”Art from the self-described “painter of light,” adorns many living rooms in America. It emphasizes simple pleasures and warm, positive images of idyllic cottages, lighthouses and colorful gardens. “My mission as an artist is to capture those special moments in life adorned with beauty and light,” Kinkade said in a message on his website. “I work to create images that project a serene simplicity that can be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone. That’s what I mean by sharing the light.”

Kinkade painted more than 1,000 pieces on various topics, including cabins, nature scenes, seascapes and classic Americana. In 2006, the artist recalled one of his earliest lessons during an interview with CNN’s Larry King.”When I was a young boy, my mother told me, ‘Your talents are God’s gifts to you, and what you do with those talents are your gift to God,'” he said.

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