Conflict between the co-authors was evidenced in a 2008 interview with the University of Oregon literary journal Etude.
Relin said he had objected to Mortenson being identified as co-author.
“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.
Mortenson did not respond to phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.
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.”
Relin’s second book, “Second Suns, Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives,” was scheduled to be published in June.
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.
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