Three Cups of Tea Co-Author Was Hurt by Book Scandal

David Oliver Relin committed suicide

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 3, 2012 3:30 PM CST

(Newser) – Looks like David Oliver Relin's grief over Three Cups of Tea may have led to his suicide. Relin, who co-authored the book, was suffering from depression and experienced financial and emotional strain over allegations that the book contained lies, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Relin didn't deny the accusations publicly, but did hire a lawyer to defend against a lawsuit that claimed Relin and co-author Greg Mortenson had defrauded readers. A judge threw out the lawsuit last year.

But Relin and Mortenson always had a strained relationship, and Relin never thought Mortenson deserved co-author credit, reports the New York Times. Last year, reports emerged that the authors had fabricated elements of the book, like an opening anecdote about Mortenson being rescued by villagers in Pakistan. Despite all this, NPR reports that Relin has a new book coming out next year: Second Suns, Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives, about doctors who perform cataract surgery in Third World countries.

This 2006 photo released by Viking shows Greg Mortenson, left, and David Oliver Relin, co-authors of the best-selling book Three Cups of Tea.
This 2006 photo released by Viking shows Greg Mortenson, left, and David Oliver Relin, co-authors of the best-selling book "Three Cups of Tea."   (AP Photo/Viking, Steven Winslow)
This book cover image released by Viking shows the paperback release of Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Relin committed suicide in Corbett, Ore., outside Portland, on Nov. 14, said the deputy Multnomah County...
This book cover image released by Viking shows the paperback release of "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time," by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Relin...   (AP Photo/Viking)
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