UVA Student Detained in North Korea Has Died

American student Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted by guards at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea, on March 16, 2016. Photo: Jon Chol Jin/AP

Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was taken prisoner in North Korea, has died. Warmbier, 22, was in a coma when he returned to the United States last week after being detained for 17 months. His family announced his passing Monday afternoon, saying in a statement:

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.

North Korea claimed that Warmbier had been in a coma for more than a year, after contracting botulism and from taking a sleeping pill, an explanation his family has rejected. Doctors are not clear exactly what brought on his condition, though scans showed loss of tissue in all parts of his brain, reports CBS News.

UVA Student Detained in North Korea Has Died