Family Says Otto Warmbier, American Released By North Korea, Has Died

American Student Freed From North Korea Has Died Grant Deltz

American Student Freed From North Korea Has Died Grant Deltz

Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student held captive in North Korea for over a year before his release last week, has died, according to his family.

Earlier, doctors treating Warmbier had said he suffered "severe neurological injury" and that he was in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness".

In a statement, family members said Warmbier had been unable to speak, see or react to verbal commands since his return to Cincinnati June 13. "Unfortunately, the very bad torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today", they said.

We would like to thank the wonderful professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who did everything they could for Otto.

"He looked very uncomfortable - nearly anguished", family members said. Authorities there have said Warmbier fell into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill.

The University of Virginia student was arrested in Pyongyang in January 2016, and as we have reported, was "accused of trying to steal a propaganda poster from an employee area of his hotel". Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, but was released and medically evacuated 17 months later. His medical condition was a surprise to USA officials and his family, who were told about it earlier this month.

"It would be easy at a moment like this to focus on all that we lost - future time that won't be spent with a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds", the family added.

Warmbier died at 2:20 p.m. Monday, days after he was released from North Korea.

"Otto's fate deepens my administration's determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency", Trump said in a statement.