US student freed from North Korea has died

Updated:

In this Feb. 29, 2016 file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea. Secretary of State Tillerson said Tuesday, June 13, 2017, that North Korea released the jailed U.S. university student.
AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon

The family of Otto Warmbier announced Monday afternoon, that the man has died.

Warmbier’s family said he was surrounded by his family when he passed away around 2:20 p.m. Monday. 

The then-21-year-old college student from suburban Cincinnati sentenced was March 16, 2016, to 15 years of prison with hard labor for trying to take a propaganda banner for someone back home, supposedly in return for a used car and to impress a semi-secret society he wanted to join, and all under the supposed direction of the U.S. government.

More than 15 months later, he has finally been reunited with his parents and two younger siblings. But he was released back to the United States in a comatose state. 

Warmbier, now 22, had been hospitalized at the UC Medical Center immediately after his arrival late Tuesday aboard a medevac flight following North Korea's decision to release him for what it called humanitarian reasons — and under strong pressure after the Trump administration learned of his condition in a special U.S. envoy's June 6 meeting in New York with North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations.

His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, were told he had been in a coma since shortly after being sentenced to prison with hard labor.

In the statement, Warmbier's family said, "We thank everyone around the world who has kept him and our family in their thoughts and prayers. We are at peace and at home too."