David Oliver Relin, co-author of the 2006 best-selling inspirational memoir Three Cups of Tea, died on Nov. 14 in Oregon at age 49. Relin had been suffering from depression and committed suicide, according to a family spokesperson.
The book, co-authored with Greg Mortenson, came under fire in 2011 when 60 Minutes and author Jon Krakauer alleged that it misrepresented or fabricated basic facts, particularly passages about Mortenson’s rescue by the citizens of Korphe, Pakistan, and the number of schools built by Mortenson’s charity, the Central Asia Institute.
Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon threw out a lawsuit by four people who had purchased Three Cups of Tea who claimed the publisher, authors, and charity had fabricated parts of the book in order to boost sales and donations.
According to the New York Times, Relin had suffered “emotionally and financially” after the controversy surrounding the book.