The 22-year-old American student imprisoned by the North Korean government for allegedly stealing a flag, who was released to the United States last week in a coma, has died.

Otto Warmbier returned to the US last Tuesday early into his 15-year sentence by the North Korean government, who said he had been in a coma for a year after developing botulism shortly after his trial. The family only discovered his condition in the days prior to his release

His family issued a statement confirming his death. “It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm.”

The statement makes no mention of a ‘coma’ explicitly, but does say that when he returned home he was “unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands”.

“He looked very uncomfortable – almost anguished. Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed – he was at peace. He was home and we believe he could sense that.”

Doctors who treated Warmbier on his return say that he had suffered extensive loss of brain tissue, and was in a “state of unresponsive wakefulness”. The family’s statement thanks doctors and condemns the North Korean government.

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

Source: Washington Post.

Photo: AP.