Otto Warmbier, the American student who was detained and held in North Korea before being returned back to the U.S. earlier this month, has died, according to his family. He was 22 years old.
News of Warmbier’s death follows reports from doctors that he had suffered extensive brain damage and was unresponsive to his surroundings. Officials from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, which treated the student upon his return, labeled his condition as a “state of unresponsive wakefulness.”
While there was no physical evidence he was beaten, doctors said that Warmbier had suffered “extensive loss of brain tissue,” suggesting he had lost blood supply to his brain for a period of time.
The North Koreans told U.S. officials that Warmbier had suffered from botulism and then slipped into a coma after taking a sleeping pill but Cincinatti doctors said that their examination showed no evidence of botulism, the strong neurotoxin produced by a bacterium.
“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.