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Otto Warmbier Dies After Returning from North Korean Prison in Coma

After being held prisoner for 17 months, the American college student has died at age 22.

Keegan Hamilton

Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was recently sent home in a coma after being held prisoner for 17 months in North Korea, died Monday at age 22.

Warmbier's family released a statement that said he passed away at 2:20 PM ET at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he had been undergoing treatment since his return from North Korea on June 13. The family's statement blamed his death on "tortuous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans," and said he was "unable to speak, unable to see, and unable to react to verbal commands."

Warmbier reportedly slipped into a coma in North Korea shortly after he delivered a tearful—and likely coerced—confession in March 2016 to attempting to steal a propaganda banner from an off-limits area of his hotel in Pyongyang. The University of Virginia student was arrested on Jan. 2, 2016 while trying to leave the North Korean capital after a brief visit, then sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. Little was known about his condition until US officials negotiated his release last week.

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