- Associated Press - Friday, April 13, 2012

MONTE SERENO, Calif. (AP) — A family member says painter Thomas Kinkade battled alcoholism over the past several years and had a relapse just before his death at his home in Santa Clara County.

Kinkade’s brother, Patrick, tells the San Jose Mercury News that decades of attacks on Kinkade’s work and a split with his wife two years ago had taken a toll on the famous “Painter of Light.”

Kinkade died in Monte Sereno on April 6 at age 54 of what a spokesman has said was natural causes. An autopsy is pending.

A recording of a dispatcher involved in the response to his home says Kinkade had been drinking all night and was not moving.

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.

Tom Cuquet leaves the Thomas Kindade Gallery after purchasing several of the artist's works in Kinkade's boyhood hometown of Placerville, Calif., Monday, April 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Tom Cuquet leaves the Thomas Kindade Gallery after purchasing several of the ... more >

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Information from: San Jose Mercury News, http://www.sjmercury.com