Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea for nearly a year and a half, died on the afternoon of Monday, June 19.
Warmbier, who was released from North Korea on June 13, had been in a coma for more than a year. Last week, Warmbier was medically evacuated and landed in Cincinnati on Tuesday night, where he was immediately rushed to the hospital.
On Thursday, June 15, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said that the 22-year-old Warmbier had extensive loss of brain tissue and was in a state of unresponsive wakefulness.
Doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said last week that Warmbier, 22, was suffering from injuries related to cardiopulmonary arrest and was in a state of unresponsive wakefulness. Scans showed extensive loss in all regions of Warmbier’s brain, doctors said.
Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was medically evacuated from North Korea and flown to Cincinnati late last Tuesday. He was then transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Warmbier, who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in a North Korean labor camp for “hostile acts against the DPRK”, was released just over a year into his sentence. North Korean officials originally claimed that Otto had become ill from botulism after his March trial and slipped into a coma after taking a sleeping pill. That claim was quickly disputed by United States doctors.
Otto Warmbier Cause Of Death
Otto Warmbier’s cause of death was due to severe neurological injury.
Doctors said Warmbier has suffered “severe neurological injury,” with extensive loss of brain tissue and “profound weakness and contraction” of his muscles, arms and legs.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier, Otto’s parents, issued a statement on their son’s passing on Monday afternoon:
It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm.
It would be easy at a moment like this to focus on all that we lost — future time that won’t be spent with a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds. But we choose to focus on the time we were given to be with this remarkable person. You can tell from the outpouring of emotion from the communities that he touched — Wyoming, Ohio and the University of Virginia to name just two — that the love for Otto went well beyond his immediate family.
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.
When Otto returned to Cincinnati late on June 13th he was unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands. He looked very uncomfortable — almost anguished. Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed — he was at peace. He was home and we believe he could sense that.
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.