Thomas Kinkade, popular artist, dies at age 54

(CNN) -- Thomas Kinkade, one of the most popular artists in America, has died at his California home, his family said. He was 54.

"Thom provided a wonderful life for his family,'' his wife, Nanette, said in a statement late Friday night. "We are shocked and saddened by his death.''

His death at his Los Gatos home appeared to be from natural causes, according to the family. More details will be released in the days ahead.

Art from the self-described "painter of light" adorns many living rooms in America. It emphasizes simple pleasures and warm, positive images of idyllic cottages, lighthouses and colorful gardens.

"My mission as an artist is to capture those special moments in life adorned with beauty and light," Kinkade said in a message on his website. "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."

Kinkade was also an author, and his top sellers included "Masterworks of Light" and "The Artist's Guide to Sketching."

He painted more than 1,000 pieces on various topics, including cabins, nature scenes, seascapes and classic Americana.