Thomas Kinkade died of drug, booze overdose

May 8, 2012 at 6:25 p.m. ET

Thomas Kinkade's alcoholism contributed to his death after all: The painter died from an overdose of alcohol and drugs, according to medical examiners.

Thomas Kinkade died of alcohol and drug overdose

Fans of painter Thomas Kinkade had no idea that his life was in such a dark place when he died last month at 54. The artist -- loved by art fans for his paintings of lush landscapes -- battled alcohol and financial problems for years. Ultimately, alcohol helped take his life, too.

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The Santa Clara County, California medical examiner ruled that Kinkade's death was a result of "acute ethanol and diazepam intoxication." In other words, he overdosed on alcohol and Valium. Kinkade also suffered from hypertension and heart disease, according to the autopsy.

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Now, his family is left to pick up the pieces of his life. First up? They filed a restraining order against his girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh. Pinto-Walsh reportedly wants to tell her side of the story, but his estate wants to keep her quiet to protect "trade secrets."

"The petition, to be heard by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Lucas, seeks to prohibit Pinto-Walsh from making statements or engaging in conduct that has the effect of defaming, criticizing, disparaging or discrediting Kinkade, Nanette Kinkade or any company owned by Kinkade 'to appear in a negative light or false light,'" according to documents obtained late last month by the Los Gatos Patch. Pinto-Walsh is also barred from participating in any books or articles about Kinkade and his legacy.

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The painter was still married to wife Nanette at the time of his death, though sources say they've been estranged for quite some time.

Quite the sad end for a painter who just wanted 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 the light," he wrote on his official website.

Image courtesy The Thomas Kinkade Company/Wikimedia Commons