Alex Malarkey, who is now 16, has admitted making up the story behind The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven (Tyndale House, 2010).

Malarkey spent two months in a coma following a car accident and woke up paralysed. However, the account of ‘miracles, angels, and life beyond this world’, which he is listed as co-authoring with his father, Kevin, has now been firmly refuted.

‘I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention,’ he wrote in his blog. ‘I did not die. I did not go to heaven. When I made the claims, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough.’

In a statement, Tyndale said it is saddened by the fact that Malarkey ‘is now saying that he made up the story of dying and going to heaven’. It went on to say: ‘For the past couple of years we have known that [his mother] Beth Malarkey…was unhappy with the book, and believed it contained inaccuracies. It is because of this new information that we are taking the book out of print.’

More than a million copies were sold before it was withdrawn from sale.