On Good Friday, Thomas Kinkade passed away unexpectedly at his home aged 54. Most popular for the kitch and very sentimental-style oil paintings of houses and landscapes which appeared as though dream-like, Kinkade made millions from their sales. It's believed that his art hangs in 10 million American homes. Their sales, plus their licensing on everything from greetings cards to plates, made him immensely wealthy.
"He lived life to the fullest," said Ken Raasch, his former business partner who co-founded Kinkade's company more than 20 years ago. " He was a very eclectic character, an amazing artist who was not a stereotypical man in any sense. He created his own mold, I'd say, and I think we were all blessed because of that."
He was known to be a very generous and sentimental man who once gave an Anaheim widow $25,000 of his art to replace what she had lost in a fire. He frequently paid tribute to her by hiding her name, and those of his four daughters, within his paintings.
Kinkade's fame and fortune, however, were complicated by personal and business struggles, as he struggled with alcohol abuse. This led to a drink driving charge which he later pleaded no contest.He is survived by his wife, Nanette Kinkade, and his four daughters, Merritt, Chandler, Winsor and Everett, and a brother, Pat, who worked for Kinkade's company.