US Student Just Freed from North Korean Prison Dies

Otto Warmbier was 22.

(AP, WLTX) - Otto Warmbier, the U.S. citizen who was just released from a North Korean prison and returned to the U.S. last week has died, his family confirms.

The family said in a statement he passed away around 2:20 p.m. Monday.

"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," they wrote. But we choose to focus on the time we were given to be with this remarkable person." 

Warmbier was released from a North Korean prison and returned home to suburban Cincinnati last Tuesday in a coma. Doctors say he had severe injury to all regions of his brain.

His family says he was unable to speak, see or react to verbal commands. "He looked very uncomfortable--almost anguished," his family said in a statement. "Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of this face changed--he was at last at peace. He was home and we believe he could sense that."

He's been serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.

A White House spokeswoman said Warmbier's release "was a big priority" for President Donald Trump.

Warmbier was a University of Virginia student who was sentenced in March 2016 after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

© 2017 Associated Press


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