In this Sept. 15, 2006, photo, Thomas Kinkade unveils his painting, "Prayer For Peace," at the opening of the exhibit "From Abraham to Jesus," in Atlanta. (Gene Blythe/AP)

Kinkade, whose bucolic scenes of cottages and Americana expanded into an empire of galleries and merchandise, called himself “the nation’s most collected living artist,” estimating that his work could be found in one out of 20 homes in the U.S. He was the only artist to ever have a company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

In this April 9, 2012, photo, Jeff Nilluka, left, and his son Jamis, 8, view the works of Thomas Kinkade at Kinkade gallery in Placerville, Calif. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Kinkade’s death follows years of personal problems. He was arrested for a DUI in 2010. After he was forced to pay a settlement for withholding financial information from investors, he wrote a letter of apology that cited his drinking problem, according to the Religion News Service. Shortly before his death, he had separated from his wife; a judge later issued a restraining order against his girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh, for breaking a confidentiality agreement after his death.

Thomas Kinkade's Studio Masterwork, "Indy Excitement, 100 Years of Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway." (AP)