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David Oliver Relin, the co-author of the controversial inspirational book Three Cups of Tea, has died at age 49. He had committed suicide early last month.
According to The AP, deputy Multnomah County medical examiner Peter Bellant said that Relin was died on Nov. 14 in the Portland, Oregon area town Corbett. Bellant would only say that he died of a blunt force head injury.
Relin is best known for writing Three Cups of Tea with Greg Mortenson. In the book, they tell the story of Mortenson’s mission to build schools for young girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The book describes how Mortenson nearly died in Pakistan, before villagers nursed him back to life. He then decided to build a school for the area.
However, in 2011, a 60 Minutes investigation put the book under scrutiny, finding that some of the facts were fabricated.
Relin’s family told The New York Times that he suffered from “depression.” While Mortenson had admitted that some of the anecdotes in the book were not true, Relin never spoke about the allegations in public. He had to hire a lawyer to defend him in a lawsuit filed against him and Mortenson by people who bought the book, but that was later dismissed.
Back in April, Mortenson was ordered by Montana’s attorney general to pay his charity, the Central Asia Institute, $1 million for inappropriate use of donated funds.
Relin is survived by his wife, Dawn, his stepfather and two sisters.