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Thomas Kinkade autopsy reveals cause of death: Valium, alcohol overdose

Famed painter Thomas Kinkade died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium, according to a report published by NBC Bay Area.

The Santa Clara County, Calif.,  medical examiner, which is expected to release its autopsy report today, concluded that the self-described "Painter of Light" stopped breathing at his Monte Sereno home in Northern California on April 6 from a combination of alcohol and Valium, the TV station reported.

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The 54-year-old Kinkade was renowned for his sentimental paintings of gardens and landscapes, which he sold in a nationwide chain of galleries, the Associated Press reported. In recent years, the AP noted, he had run into personal difficulties, including a 2010 bankruptcy filing by one of his companies.

He also battled alcoholism and relapsed before his death, said his brother Patrick in an interview with The (San Jose) Mercury News.

Kinkade's artwork was something that could be appreciated by anyone, including people who were "uninitiated into the language of contemporary art," noted Washington Post Style Blog writer Maura Judkis:

Kinkade knew that most Americans wanted to buy and view art that was straightforward and pretty. His bucolic scenes of cottages, landscapes and race cars made him the most-collected contemporary artist in America.

But ask most art critics, and they'll tell you that Kinkade's work is saccharine, representational, sentimental and heavy-handed with Christian imagery. Kinkade has long been derided as the epitome of mediocre art. Despite his unquestionable fame, you will not find any of his works in any major museum.

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