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The Death Of Bob Ross – Time And Cause Of Death

In a time where the magic of Bob Ross’s painting tutorials is a much-needed escape from life for a lot of people, many of us are shocked to find out that Bob Ross has died decades ago. A lot of us expect the permed-haired painter to live out his days while painting happy little clouds and are surprised to learn about his death.

Bob Ross
Bob Ross inspired millions of people to paint until his death.

Who Was Bob Ross?

Bob Ross was an American TV painter who is mostly known for his television show “The Joy of Painting”. Ross painted landscape scenes with a special wet-on-wet oil painting technique he developed and refined. This technique allowed him to create stunning paintings in 30 minutes all while calmly instructing his viewers to paint along.

Bob Ross inspired millions of people to pick up a paintbrush. He touched even more of us with his soothing voice, calm personality, and unexpectedly philosophical quotes about life, art, love, and happiness on his TV show “The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross”.

Hint Of Springtime Painting
“Hint Of Springtime” : A typical Bob Ross painting featuring a mighty mountain and happy little trees

How Did Bob Ross Die?

Walter J. Kowalski, CEO of Bob Ross Inc., told the New York Times that Bob Ross died from cancer. The exact cause of death was complications from lymphoma. Lymphoma is a cancerous growth most often found in lymph nodes.

Bob Ross kept the diagnosis a secret from his audience and the public eye. His death came as a surprise to many fans and followers, as nobody outside his family and circle of friends knew of the disease.

Bob Ross during the last episode of "The Joy of Painting"
Bob Ross at the end of the last episode of “The Joy of Painting”

When And Where Did Bob Ross Die?

Bob Ross, who was born on October 29th, 1942 died on July 4th, 1995 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. He was 52 years old at the time of his death.

After Bob Ross enlisted in the United States Air Force at 18 years old he worked his way up to the rank of Master Seargent. During this time he started to paint on his lunch breaks. After leaving the Air Force and his job as a “tough and mean guy” Bob Ross vowed to never scream again in his life.

Bob Ross in his Air Force uniform
Bob Ross in his Air Force uniform

Net Worth At His Time Of Death

While some websites claim that his net worth at the end of his life was around $10 million there is no way to verify this more than 25 years later.

It is clear however that he did not die as a poor man. The company he founded with his lifelong partners the Kowalskis sold art supplies and instructional material and has been a big success. In fact, Bob never received a cent for his TV show ‘The Joy of Painting’. The whole show was a big marketing operation for his brand of paints and tools.

Judging from the massive pop cultural impact Bob Ross and ‘The Joy of Painting’ had (and still have today!) a net worth in the millions does not seem unlikely. Especially considering that the show ran for over 30 seasons over more than 10 years.

His Legacy – What Lives On

The story of success does not end with the death of Bob Ross. Not only is he survived by his son Steve, who is a painter himself and appeared on “The Joy of Painting” several times. The company he founded, aptly named “Bob Ross Inc.” after himself, continued to sell painting supplies, books, and recordings of the TV show.

In the last couple of years, Bob Ross Inc. managed to cement Bob’s legacy as a pop culture icon even more. Starting with a “The Joy of Painting” marathon on the company’s channel the show regained popularity across the internet.

Streetwear label RIPNDIP's Bob Ross Sweater
Streetwear label RIPNDIP’s Bob Ross Sweater

The company leveraged this popularity into collaborations with fashion labels, a Bob Ross themed board game called “The Art of Chill”, playing cards and other trinkets, and probably thousands of Bob Ross Inc.’s tubes of Titanium White.

Magic The Gathering Bob Ross
Magic: The Gathering Arena just added Bob Ross Lands
Bob Ross in his Air Force uniform
The Military Career of Bob Ross