This is the weirdest thing; not a month ago I had a conference by Neil McWilliam (a professor at Duke) on Kinkade, in one of my PhD seminars.
He just got interested by Kinkade, since when you're doing the social history of art, this is pretty much the most interesting subject you can have. Best-seller, crazy pricing scheme, dubious sales tactics, public urination, the works!
Most people tend to forget that studying art also eventually requires one to look at something else than good art. Bad art is the dark matter of Art History: invisible, yet skewing its gravitational field.
Oh, and I'll be the first to wager that Kinkade's not dead: he just found a way to sell his wares for more money:
"Today has been unbelievable," said Richard Smith, who owns Kinkade Signature galleries in Pismo Beach and Solvang on the central coast. "It's sad. I can't control what happens in life, but as far as sales go, this has been our biggest selling day in history, and I've been running galleries for 20 years."
Christian painter dies during Easter? I don't know...