The November death of David Oliver Relin, co-author of the best-selling book “Three Cups of Tea,’’ has been ruled a suicide by authorities in Oregon. Relin was 49 years old.
Peter Bellant, Deputy Multnomah County medical examiner, told the Associated Press that Relin committed suicide and died of a “blunt force head injury” in Corbett, Ore., on Nov. 14. Speaking through Relin’s agent, Jin Auh, the author's family told The New York Times that Relin “suffered from depression’’ and took his own life. No further details were given surrounding the circumstances of his death.
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“Three Cups of Tea,’’ which details the inspiring story of mountain climber Greg Mortenson helping to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, was released in 2006 and has sold more than four million copies. However, the accuracy of the book came under fire in 2011 from “60 Minutes” as well as best-selling author Jon Krakauer, who wrote an e-book called “Three Cups of Deceit,” calling into question several pertinent points in the book co-authored by Relin and Mortenson.Video: Author defends ‘Three Cups of Tea’ memoir (on this page)
Krakauer’s damning report claimed that some of the schools created by Mortenson’s charity, the Central Asia Institute, were either built by someone else or did not exist. His investigation also claimed that the institute was using a majority of its funds to promote “Three Cups of Tea’’ rather than putting them toward helping the schools. Relin never publicly answered the charges, according to The New York Times, and a federal lawsuit against him and Mortenson accusing them of defrauding readers was dismissed in April.
Relin had just completed a new book, scheduled for publication by Random House in spring 2013, about a pair of doctors trying to cure cataract-related blindness in the Third World, according to The New York Times.
He is survived by his mother, Marjorie Relin, his wife, Dawn; his stepfather, Cary Ratcliff and sisters Rachel Relin and Jennifer Cherelin.
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