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Thomas Kinkade Dead at 54

Thomas Kinkade
FILE – In this Sept. 15, 2006 file photo, artist Thomas Kinkade unveils his painting, “Prayer For Peace,” at the opening of the exhibit “From Abraham to Jesus,” in Atlanta. A family spokesman says California artist Thomas Kinkade, known for scenes of cottages, country gardens and churches in dewy morning light, has died, Friday, April 6, 2012. He was 54. (AP Photo/Gene Blythe, File)
kinkade
FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2006 file photo, artist Thomas Kinkade unveils his painting, "Prayer For Peace," at the opening of the exhibit "From Abraham to Jesus," in Atlanta. A family spokesman says California artist Thomas Kinkade, known for scenes of cottages, country gardens and churches in dewy morning light, has died, Friday, April 6, 2012. He was 54. (AP Photo/Gene Blythe, File)

Popular painter Thomas Kinkade died at his home in the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday. He was 54.

A family spokesman told the Associated Press that Kinkade’s death appeared to be of natural causes. The cause of death was not immediately released.

The self-described “painter of light” said in a biography on his official website that “my mission is to capture those special moments in life adorned with beauty and light. I work to create images that project a serene simplicity that can be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone. That’s what I mean by sharing light.”

Kinkade painted more than 1,000 masterworks. They usually featured country gardens, cottages, churches and idyllic landscapes.

Many of his paintings included hidden messages, ranging from the initials of family members to Disney characters.

“Each image contain treasures that add to their mystique,” the biography on his website says.

Before his career took off, Kinkade studied at UC Berkeley and worked as an artist in the film industry.

But he had a knack for painting idyllic settings and Kinkade once claimed to be the nation’s most collected living artist, according to reports.

The Associated Press reported that his paintings and spin-offs accounted for an estimated $100 million a year in sales.

He created “inspiring, moving, and compelling art adding to a life’s work that is a testament to the confluence of passion, talent, and creativity with which Thom has been blessed,” his bio reads. “We trust his images will move you as profoundly as we are moved everyday by images that capture the imagination and move the soul.”

-With Associated Press

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