Autopsy: Valium, booze killed artist Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade, known as "The Painter of Light," has died unexpectedly in his home near San Francisco, Calif. Lee Cowan takes a look back at his art -- and his art of marketing -- that brought his paintings to millions of American homes.

(AP) SAN JOSE, Calif. - An autopsy has found that artist Thomas Kinkade's death was caused by an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription tranquilizers.

NBC Bay Area News reported Monday that the Santa Clara County medical examiner concluded that the self-described "Painter of Light" stopped breathing at his Northern California home on April 6 from a combination of alcohol and Valium.

Before his death, the 54-year-old Kinkade produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes that he sold in a nationwide chain of galleries.

In recent years, however, he had run into personal difficulties, including a 2010 bankruptcy filing by one of his companies.

His brother has said Kinkade battled alcoholism and relapsed before his death.

A judge last month issued a restraining order against a former girlfriend that prevents her from talking about the late painter.