“Three Cups of Tea” was conceived as a way to raise money for and tell the story of Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute, which he co-founded in 1996 to build schools in Central Asia.
Relin interviewed Mortenson, attended several of his lectures and read previous articles before preparing a book proposal that was bought by Penguin Group. After selling Penguin on the idea, Relin then conducted more interviews with Mortenson and others before writing the manuscript, Montalbano said.
“That’s been the only negative thing about this whole adventure for me,” Relin said.
“It was published that way over my objections,” he added.
The publisher released a statement saying, “All of us at Penguin are saddened to hear of the death of David Oliver Relin. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.”
His second book, “Second Suns, Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives,” was scheduled to be published in June.
The investigation led to a settlement in April that called for Mortenson to reimburse the charity nearly $1 million, his removal from a position of financial oversight and an expansion of the board.
Relin was born in Rochester, N.Y. He is survived by his wife, two sisters, and his mother.
AP writer Matt Volz contributed to this report from Helena, Mont.