'Three Cups of Tea' Co-Author Commits Suicide

David Oliver Relin, the journalist who co-authored "Three Cups of Tea" with Greg Mortenson, took his own life on Nov 15. According to the New York Times, "he had suffered emotionally and financially as basic facts in the book were called into question."

Apparently Relin's working relationship with Mortenson was never easy:

Elizabeth Kaplan, the agent for the book, acknowledged that the relationship between the two men was difficult from the start. Mr. Mortenson, who was traveling to remote areas, could be hard to track down, and Mr. Relin spoke publicly about how Mr. Mortenson should not have been named a co-author. Still, the book was a huge success, selling more than four million copies.

A lawsuit was brought against both men by four readers of the book who felt they were cheated because the books were fraudulently labeled as nonfiction. It was dismissed in April.

Mr. Relin spent most of his life as an adventure journalist with a strong interest in humanitarian stories — starting his career in the 90s with stories about his travels in Vietnam. According to Lee Kravitz, the former editor of Parade and oft collaborator/champion, "[h]e especially cared about young people. I always assigned him to stories that would inspire people to take action to improve their lives."


In the spring of 2013, Random House is publishing his latest book, the story of doctors working to cure cataract-related blindness in the developing world.

David Oliver Relin, Adventurous Journalist, Dies at 49 [NY Times]

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