Tuesday, December 04, 2012
David Oliver Relin, Three Cups of Tea author, Dies at 49
By LESLIE KAUFMAN - Published: December 2, 2012 - The New York Times
David Oliver Relin, a journalist and adventurer who achieved acclaim as co-author of the best seller “Three Cups of Tea” (2006) and then suffered emotionally and financially as basic facts in the book were called into question, died Nov. 15 in Multnomah County, Ore. He was 49.
Some readers questioned details in the best-selling book, "Three Cups of Tea."
His family said Mr. Relin “suffered from depression” and took his own life. The family, speaking through Mr. Relin’s agent, Jin Auh, was unwilling to give further details, but said a police statement would be released this week.
In the 1990s, Mr. Relin established himself as a journalist with an interest in telling “humanitarian” stories about people in need in articles about child soldiers and about his travels in Vietnam.
“He felt his causes passionately,” said Lee Kravitz, the former editor of Parade who hired Mr. Relin at various magazines over the years. “He especially cared about young people. I always assigned him to stories that would inspire people to take action to improve their lives.”
So it made sense when Viking books tapped him to write a book about Greg Mortenson, a mountain climber who had an inspiring story about building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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.