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Otto Warmbier has died just days after being medically evacuated from North Korea

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Otto Warmbier has died just days after being medically evacuated from North Korea

WATCH| Otto Warmbier was only 22. 

UPDATE: June 19 at 6:52 p.m.:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Monday said that North Korea "murdered" U.S. student Otto Warmbier.

"Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the [North Korean President] Kim Jong Un's regime," he said in a statement, according to NBC News.

"In the final year of his life, he lived the nightmare in which the North Korean people have been trapped for 70 years: forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture and murder," McCain added.

"The United States of America cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers."

UPDATE: June 19 at 4:39 p.m.:

Warmbier, who was released from North Korea last week after nearly a year and a half in captivity, died Monday at age 22, according to his parents.

In a statement, Fred and Cindy Warmbier thanked the University of Cincinnati Medical Center 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."

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) released a statement on Warmbier's passing. 

"Otto Warmbier was such a promising young man," Portman wrote. "He was kind, generous and accomplished. He had all the talent you could ever ask for and a bright future ahead of him." 

The University of Virginia student was held in North Korea for 17 months before being medically evacuated. Doctors said he had severe brain damage upon his return, but added it is unclear what caused it. 

UPDATE 10:59 a.m. EST:  Warmbier reportedly contracted botulism in North Korea.

UPDATE 10:41 a.m. EST:  Warmbier reportedly was medically evacuated in a coma.

UPDATE 10:36 a.m. EST:  Here's Tillerson's statement on Warmbier's release.

ORIGINAL STORY:  North Korea has released jailed U.S. college student Otto Warmbier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. 

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was convicted last year of conducting "hostile acts against the DPRK" after he allegedly hung a poster on the wall of a hotel in Pyongyang that said “Let’s arm ourselves strongly with Kim Jong-il’s patriotism!” according to North Korea officials. 

On March 16, 2016, Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

In a emotional plea before the court, Warmbier stated that he "never, never should have allowed myself to be lured by the United States administration to commit a crime in this country."

"I entirely beg you, the people and government of the DPRK, for your forgiveness. Please! I made the worst mistake of my life," Warmbier said. 


Waarmbier's harsh sentencing happened amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the U.S. During that time North Korea launched a series of missile tests and the U.S. countered by deploying warships to the region. 

Tillerson says that Warmbier is on his way back to the U.S. to be reunited with his family. He said the State Department secured Warmbier's release at the direction of President Trump. 

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