Thomas Kinkade Autopsy: Lethal Level of Alcohol, Drugs in Painter's Body

Santa Clara County Medical Examiner's report finds Kinkade died of respiratory depression as a result of a high concentration of ethanol and tranquilizer benzodiazepine.

The body of the late painter Thomas Kinkade, who died April 6 of an apparent lethal combination of Valium and alcohol, was intoxicated with ethanol and Diltiazem and Diazepam, the autopsy report reveals.

The latter two drugs, named in the eight-page report by their prescription names, are used to treat high blood pressure and to control angina, or chest pain and short-term relief of symptoms related to anxiety disorders, respectively.

In addition, toxicology analysis revealed that Kinkade, 54, had also the presence of Nordiazepam, another drug used in the treatment of anxiety and tension and as a sedative, muscle relaxant, and anticonvulsant.

A urine analysis also showed Kinkade's body had a presence of Oxazepam, which is used to relieve anxiety, including anxiety caused by alcohol withdrawal; Temazepam, which is used on a short-term basis to treat insomnia; Diltiazem, which is used to treat high blood pressure and to control angina and Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid, also used to treat alcohol withdrawal.

Pathologic diagnoses for Kinkade were chronic substance abuse, systemic hypertension and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, the report stated.

Kinkade's body was also mildly obese and had healing injuries in the abdomen and ribs, the report added.

Dr. Joseph P. O'Hara, the chief medical examiner at the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner's Office, wrote that Kinkade was found unresponsive in his bed by his companion, live-in girlfriend Amy Pinto-Walsh, the morning of Friday, April 6.

He was last known to be alive four hours prior to the time of death, which is not specified in the report, and emergency medical personnel were summoned to the Monte Sereno home on Ridgecrest Drive and pronounced him dead shortly after arrival. 

"His medical history included chronic substance abuse, systemic hypertension and hyperlipidemia," the report said. "Autopsy revealed the presence of marked hypertensive heart disease, mild coronary artery disease, steatosis (fatty change) of the liver ...

"Mr. Kinkade died of respiratory depression as a result of a high concentration of ethanol combined with benzodiazepine use."

and said she was with Kinkade when he died, had called 911 at 11:30 a.m. and identified herself as Amy Pinto.

The fact that Kinkade was an alcoholic has been revealed to other media sources by Patrick Kinkade, the late painter's brother.

Thomas Kinkade Trust spokeswoman Marcia Horowitz said the painter's family is sorting through a number of different issues and has not had an opportunity to fully review the May 2 autopsy results and would comment later.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Lucas last month issued a temporary restraining order against the painter's live-in girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh, to prevent her from breaching a confidentiality agreement she signed Feb. 25, 2011.

Sources, who declined to be identified, said Kinkade was estranged from his wife Nanette for the past two years and had changed his lifestyle considerably in the last three years.

They cited his bankruptcy filing in 2010 for Pacific Metro, the manufacturing arm of his company located in Morgan Hill. They also pointed to a series of lawsuits filed by investors against his company, seeking restitution for financial claims. 

In 2010, he was arrested for a DUI, to which he plead no contest.

Raasch's obituary of Kinkade said the self-professed "Painter of Light" along with business partner, Ken Raasch, formed Lightpost Publishing in 1989, which pioneered the building of the Thomas Kinkade brand which to date globally has generated more than $4 billion dollars in retail sales.

Virginia Fiorentino May 10, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I find it very sad that all of the details of his death have been released to the media. Everyone has the right to some privacy.
Jeffrey Bachman May 10, 2012 at 05:00 PM
As hard as it is to read this information, it reminds us how important it is to take care of our bodies and respect its functions. I admire this man for his talents and the joy he has brought to the world but I am saddened because of the choices he made in his last few years. This is an opportunity for me to teach my kids about life and making correct choices. Being a public figure has its downside. This is public information and my take away from this is that the choices we make can have a profound impact on an individual, his family and his community.
Amie Sue May 10, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I think we need to leave him alone. It's really none of our business. I feel so badly for his family.
Mckenna Smith May 10, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Mr. Kinkade was using dangerous drugs, but he wasn't alone when she died. Why didn't we help him? Why didn't someone intervene?
Julian Groft May 10, 2012 at 05:17 PM
It really makes me sad reading this...had to stop mid way! in my eyes i only see Thomas Kinkade as a goodman who had unbelievable talent and thats all!
MichaelJ May 10, 2012 at 05:21 PM
The drugs listed in the report are dangerous elixirs that when combined with alcohol are fatal. Question is who prescribed these meds and how on earth did his girlfriend not know that he was taking too much of all of it? As sad as this, these questions need to be raised. This stuff cannot be swept away under the rug and forgotten.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz May 10, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Unfortunately when one becomes famous. Their lives are no longer private.
Jim Thrall May 11, 2012 at 06:31 AM
Such an unecessary ending to a tragic period in a talented artist and decent businessman's life and career. Sympathy for his children, other family members, and close friends. Covering this is fine. This answers questions many people have in their minds, but had no way to ask or answer. What do we do with this information? Love more. Strengthen your relationships. Live for a greater purpose. -- Love more.


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