- Associated Press - Monday, April 9, 2012

SAN JOSE, CALIF. (AP) - An autopsy is planned for Thomas Kinkade, the popular painter who died at his Northern California home.

The Santa Clara County coroner’s office says the results of Monday’s autopsy may not be available for weeks if toxicology tests are required.

Kinkade family spokesman David Satterfield says the 54-year-old painter died Friday of apparent natural causes.

The self-described “Painter of Light” produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes beloved by many but derided by some critics.

The commercial success of his paintings led Kinkade to open a nationwide chain of hundreds of galleries.

In recent years, Kinkade had run into personal difficulties, including a 2010 bankruptcy filing by one of his companies.

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