Three Cups of Tea co-author, David Oliver Relin, died November 15th in Multnomah County, Oregon. Relin’s family explained that he “suffered from depression” and took his own life.
Three Cups of Tea, which has sold about 4 million copies since its publication in 2006, describes how Relin’s co-author, Greg Mortenson, became lost after a failed mountaineering expedition and was nursed back to health by a Pakistani village. Based on the villagers’ altruism and the poverty he witnessed there, Mortenson resolved to build a school for them.
Relin suffered both emotionally and financially as the facts of his book were called into question. The book first came under scrutiny in 2011, when 60 Minutes and Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild) claimed it contained a number of fabrications. Relin never spoke publicly about the charges made against Greg Mortenson, though Mortenson himself has since acknowledged that some of the details of the book are false.
According to the reports from 60 Minutes and Krakauer, in his e-book, Three Cups of Deceit, Mortenson was never rescued by the townspeople of Korphe, Pakistan. Additionally, some of the schools that Mortenson’s charity, the Central Asia Institute, previously said it established either did not exist or were built by other charitable groups.
Relin’s new book, focused on two doctors working to cure cataract-related blindness in the developing world, was completed before his death. It is scheduled for publication by Random House in the spring of next year.