Otto Warmbier — the 22-year-old American citizen who spent more than a year in the North Korean prison system for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster in a hotel during a visit with a tour group in 2016 — has died.
Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma last week, died Monday. https://t.co/fXdKt9um59
— AP Eastern U.S. (@APEastRegion) June 19, 2017
Fox News has more:
News of Warmbier’s death follows reports from doctors that Warmbier had suffered extensive brain damage and was unresponsive to his surroundings. Officials from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, which treated the student upon his return, labeled his condition as a “state of unresponsive wakefulness.”
While there was no physical evidence he was beaten, doctors said that Warmbier had suffered “extensive loss of brain tissue,” suggesting he had lost blood supply to his brain for a period of time.
As Faithwire reported, before his release, Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years hard labor by North Korea, and the Trump administration had previously vowed to bring him home. Gone since March of 2016, that’s exactly what ended up happening.
Sadly, though, the story didn’t have the happy ending his family had hoped.
Before his death, Otto was in a coma and it’s unclear exactly how long he was in that state, however he was perfectly healthy prior to the trip and was an athlete who played soccer.
North Korea had said that Warmbier slipped into a coma after coming down with botulism, though U.S. doctors found no evidence that this was the case.
“It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home,” Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier’s parents, wrote in a statement issued to Fox News. “Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20 pm.”
The statement continued, “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. But we choose to focus on the time we were given to be with this remarkable person.”
President Trump has also released a statement responding to the news of Otto Warmbier’s death:
JUST IN: Pres. Trump on the death of Otto Warmbier: "There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life." pic.twitter.com/qzbJWK4VqA
— ABC News (@ABC) June 19, 2017
Read more about the story here.