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U.S. student returned by North Korea in a coma has died

  • Author: Reuters
  • Updated: June 19
  • Published June 19

Otto Frederick Warmbier (C), a University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea since early January, is taken to North Korea's top court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo March 16, 2016. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo

WASHINGTON – U.S. student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months before being returned home in a coma less than a week ago, has died in a Cincinnati hospital, his family said in a statement on Monday.

"Unfortunately, the awful 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," the family said in a statement following Warmbier's death at 2:20 p.m. EDT at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

His family has said that Warmbier, 22, lapsed into a coma in March 2016, shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea.

He was arrested, according to North Korean media, for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan.

North Korea released Warmbier last week, saying he was being freed "on humanitarian grounds."

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