US student freed by North Korea in a coma has died

American student Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. North Korea's highest court sentenced Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student, from Wyoming, Ohio, to 15 years in prison with hard labor on Wednesday for subversion. He allegedly attempted to steal a propaganda banner from a restricted area of his hotel at the request of an acquaintance who wanted to hang it in her church. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

CINCINNATI (AP) — An American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma has died in Ohio. Otto Warmbier was 22.

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

The family thanked the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treating him but said, “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 with hard labor in North Korea, 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. Doctors said he returned with severe brain damage, but it wasn’t clear what caused it.

Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old college student detained and imprisoned in North Korea, is carried off of an airplane at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Warmbier arrived in Ohio after being released by North Korea, where he was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts. His parents have said he has been in a coma and was medically evacuated. (Sam Greene/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)
Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old college student detained and imprisoned in North Korea, is carried off of an airplane at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Warmbier arrived in Ohio after being released by North Korea, where he was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts. His parents have said he has been in a coma and was medically evacuated. (Sam Greene/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

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