Otto Warmbier, the US student detained by North Korea and returned in a coma, has died

Otto Warmbier
In this Feb. 29, 2016 file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim Kwang Hyon (Associated Press)

Otto Warmbier, the US student who wasmedically evacuated from North Korea to his home in Cincinnati last week, passed away on Monday at 2:20 p.m. while “surrounded by his loving family,” according to a statement from the Warmbiers.

US diplomats negotiated the evacuation of Warmbier while he was serving a 15-year sentence in North Korea for “anti-state” activities, which he was sentenced to after attempting to take down a propaganda poster in his hotel.

Warmbier, healthy upon his arrival to North Korea and at his trial, suffered a serious neurological injury that caused him to go into a coma while in detention. North Korean officials said that he contracted botulism, took a sleeping pill, and never woke up, but upon arriving back in the US, doctors found no evidence of that toxin.

The Warmbier’s expressed their joy at their reunion with their son, as well as their pride in the life he led, in parallel to the sadness they felt at the loss of their son and brother at 22.