Painter Thomas Kinkade's Shocking Death At 54 Triggers Autopsy

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Apr. 9 2012, Published 9:30 a.m. ET

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By Staff

An autopsy has been scheduled for famed American painter Thomas Kinkade who died unexpectedly on Friday at the age of 54.

As previously reported, Kinkade died Friday at his home near Los Gatos, California.

Although his family put out a statement saying he'd died "of natural causes," officials on the scene refused to comment. Now the Santa Clara County coroner has confirmed an autopsy will take place Monday.

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The mystery around his death comes in part out of the fact that the so-called Painter of Light had a very dark side.

He's been dodged by numerous lawsuits in the law decade with owners of his franchised Thomas Kinkade Signature Galleries.

He also battled the bottle, former business colleagues said in court records and interviews.  His 2010 DUI mugshot went viral, and he later pleaded no contest to the charge.

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And unknown to most of his fans, Kinkade and his wife Nanette had been separated for the last year, reports The Los Angeles Times.

"The Thomas Kinkade story and legacy is a story of triumph and tragedy," Kinkade's former friend and company VP told The Times.


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