By Mark Ellis
Rescue workers who raced to “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade’s California home on the morning he died responded to a call concerning an unconscious, 54-year-old man who had been “drinking all night,” according to a report in The Daily.
A Santa Clara County dispatcher was recorded at 11:16 a.m. Friday saying that a “54-year-old male, unconscious, not breathing. Apparently he has been drinking all night and not moving … CPR in progress.”Santa Clara County officials would not elaborate.
Kinkade was legally separated from his wife, Nanette, and the two had been living apart. Nanette and three of their daughters had traveled to Australia to visit a fourth daughter and were absent when he passed away, according to The Daily.
Kinkade’s live-in girlfriend, Amy Pinto, 48, made the 9-1-1 call. Later, she told the San Jose Mercury News that Kinkade “died in his sleep, very happy, in the house he built, with the paintings he loved, and the woman he loved.”
Kinkade built one of the world’s most profitable art empires from his idyllic work, which often featured Christian themes. But his company was in bankruptcy and he had well-publicized problems with alcohol. Two years ago, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail for drunk driving.
The Los Gatos police said they had responded to several calls to his Monte Sereno house related to domestic disputes between Kinkade and his girlfriend.
An autopsy was conducted Monday, but the cause of death could take weeks to release while awaiting a toxicology report.
Thomas Kinkade left behind hundreds of unreleased paintings, sketches and writings, close friends told The Daily.
“He has things that nobody has ever seen that are beautiful, that are absolutely beautiful,” said Linda Raasch, who had known the late painter more than 25 years.
Raasch said his personal work is mostly in the plein air style of French expressionism — quick paintings that capture the ambiance of the light and air — in contrast to his more popular, highly-detailed renditions of bucolic settings, The Daily reported.
“He was brilliant, he was beyond talented. Far beyond what the public has ever seen,” Raasch said.
The Kinkade Company, which licenses and distributes his work, has not decided how it will reveal his unreleased work, a spokesman said.
The story in The Daily can be seen here.