David Oliver Relin, the co-author of the best selling book Three Cups of Tea, committed suicide in Oregon on Nov. 14, authorities said last night. He was 49. The deputy county medical examiner says Relin died of blunt force head injury, but declined to provide any other details. Relin was co-author with Greg Mortenson of Tea, which recounts how Mortenson started building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan; the book came under scrutiny last year when 60 Minutes and Jon Krakauer alleged that it contained numerous fabrications.
In April, a US District judge rejected a lawsuit by four people who bought the book, dismissing claims that the two authors, the publisher, and a charity conspired to make Mortenson into a false hero to sell books and raise money for the charity. Mortenson had denied any wrongdoing, though he has acknowledged some of the events in the book were compressed over different periods of time. The New York Times reported that Relin did not speak publicly about the charges.