Mrs. Thompson said she would never forget the way Mr. Holden helped her while her husband received chemotherapy and radiation.
"Sam was big enough to lift Tom and helped me with those days," she recalled.
By Sunday morning, Mr. Holden's Facebook page was flooded with condolences and images of his work.
"Sam is one of the photographers that has been crucial to City Paper for many, many years," said City Paper editor, Evan Serpick. "This comes as such a huge shock to all of us. We'll miss him not only for his pictures, but his friendship and spirit."
Serpick recalled one of his favorite Holden images—a cover of the Best of Baltimore issue last year featuring John Waters and Rodney Henry.
"His loss is felt a lot by everyone at City Paper," Serpick said. "He's done so many iconic pictures over the years."
In addition to his father, Mr. Holden is survived by his older sister, Mina, who lives in Hunt Valley, and a daughter, who lives in South Carolina.
Mr. Holden's father said that he planned to cremate his son and scatter his ashes on the grave of his beloved rescue dog Koda, which is located on his 24-acre farm.
"That's what he'd like," he said.
An earlier version of this obituary gave an incorrect name for Mr. Holden's sister. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.