OTTO Warmbier was a US student who made headlines around the world after a tragic trip to North Korea in 2016.
Here’s what you need to know about the 22-year-old and how he tragically lost his life.
What happened to Otto Warmbier in North Korea?
Otto Warmbier was a student at the University of Virginia when he visited Pyongyang on his way to Hong Kong where he was going to study.
But North Korean authorities accused him of committing a hostile act against the country by stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel.
He was arrested at the airport while trying to leave in January 2016.
After appearing in a televised show trial he gave a tearful press conference where he confessed and begged for forgiveness.
But his pleas fell on deaf ears and he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour in March 2016.
From that day nothing was heard from him for more than 15 months until he was returned to the US in a vegetative state.
North Korea said Warmbier went into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill.
But his dad Fred said Otto was “terrorised and brutalised” during his detention.
Mr and Mrs Warmbier told how their son came home blind, deaf, howling and jerking violently on the aircraft.
Doctors in Cincinnati said they found no active sign of botulism or evidence of beatings.
Doctors in the US city said there were no broken bones or other signs of trauma but his brain damage was severe.
A coroner’s report found no signs of torture and said his body was “well-developed, well-nourished”.
How long was Otto Warmbier in a coma?
Otto Warmbier was suddenly and unexpectedly released by North Korea in June 2017.
But his loved ones soon discovered the reason for his release was that he was in a coma.
Doctors described Warmbier’s condition as a state of “unresponsive wakefulness” and said he suffered a “severe neurological injury” of unknown cause.
Warmbier was in a coma from March 2016, according to his father.
Fred Warmbier said: “The day after he was sentenced, he went into a coma.”
But he said the family was not told until he was released more than a year later.
The Warmbier family statement in full
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 (Monday June 19).
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 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.
When did Otto Warmbier die?
Otto Warmbier died on Monday June 19, 2018.
They did not cite a specific cause of death, but said the student had “completed his journey home”.
Days before, doctors said he had suffered extensive loss of brain tissue and “profound weakness and contraction” of his muscles, arms and legs.
His eyes opened and blinked but without any sign that he understood verbal commands or his surroundings.
“Unresponsive wakefulness” is a new medical term for persistent vegetative state.
Patients in this condition who have survived a coma can open their eyes, but they do not respond to commands.
People can live in a state of unresponsive wakefulness for many years with the chances of recovery dependant on the extent of the brain injury.
Otto Warmbier’s death could remain a mystery after his family declined to have a postmortem carried out on their son.
His family have refused to allow the US Coroner to conduct a full internal examination.
Friends and family came to pay their respects at Otto’s old High School in Wyoming, on the outskirts of Cincinnati[/caption]
When was Otto’s funeral?
Dozens of tearful friends and family of the US student gathered for his funeral on June 22.
He was laid to rest at Oak Hill Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio, after he died in hospital on three days before.
Speaking outside the memorial at Wyoming High School, the Republican senator Rob Portman said Otto was an “amazing young man” — adding that North Korea must be held accountable.
What has Donald Trump said about Otto’s death?
President Trump blasted the “brutal” North Korean regime after news broke of Otto’s death.
He also used his first speech to the UN General Assembly to launch a scathing attack on Kim Jong-Un’s “depraved” dictatorship, and mentioned its treatment of Otto Warmbier.
The President said: “We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America only to die a few days later.”
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A week after his UN speech, Trump accused North Korea of abusing Warmbier saying the young man had been “tortured beyond belief.”
“Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea,” Trump said on Twitter.
However at his second summit with Kim Jong-Un in Vietnam, Trump said he doesn’t “believe he knew about it”.
He said: “I don’t believe he (Kim) knew about it.
“He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.”
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