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The American student who was released from North Korea last week has died

Otto Warmbier had returned to the US last week after more than 17 months in prison.

Image: Kim Kwang Hyon

AN AMERICAN COLLEGE student who was released by North Korea in a coma has died in Ohio.

Otto Warmbier was just 22-years old.

His family said in a statement released by a hospital that Warmbier died this afternoon.

The family thanked the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treating him but was also sharply critical of how their son was treated in North Korea:

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.

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in prison in North Korea, when he was convicted of subversion after he tearfully confessed he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.

The University of Virginia student was held for more than 17 months and medically evacuated from North Korea last week.

News: Otto Warmbier Returns Home Warmbier arriving back to Cincinnati, Ohio last week Source: USA Today Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

Warmbier experienced extensive tissue loss in all regions of the brain, doctors said, but he showed no signs of physical trauma and medical tests offered no conclusive evidence as to the cause of his neurological injuries.

The medical team said Warmbier’s severe brain injury was most likely, given his young age, to have been caused by cardiopulmonary arrest cutting the blood supply to the brain.

But they could not definitively say what could have caused such an event, saying they had found no signs of a botulism infection, the explanation given by the North Korean regime for how the young man fell into a coma.

Reacting to the news, US President Donald Trump denounced North Korea as a “brutal regime”.

He added: “Bad things happened, but at least he got home to his parents.”

With reporting from the Associated Press.

Read: ‘There is no excuse’: Detained US student suffered ‘extensive’ brain damage in North Korea

Read: US student released from North Korea prison in a coma

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Sean Murray

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