U.S. student Otto Warmbier, who was detained in North Korea for 17 months, died on Monday, leading Twitter users to react with both sadness and outrage.
Warmbier’s family announced that the 22-year-old University of Virginia student had died at a hospital in Cincinnati. North Korea released Warmbier last Tuesday, saying he was freed on “humanistic grounds.”
“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,” Warmbier’s family said in a statement following his death.
His family has said that Warmbier fell into a coma in March 2016, shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea. According to North Korean media, he was arrested for attempting to steal a poster that featured a propaganda slogan.
During a 2015 trio to China, the student signed up for a four-day New Year’s trip to North Korea. As the rest of his tour group departed from Pyongyang International Airport on Jan. 2, 2016, Warmbier was detained, The Washington Post reported. Two months later he showed up on North Korean TV confessing to stealing the poster from his hotel to bring home as a souvenir.
President Trump released a statement on Monday offering his condolences to Warmbier’s loved ones. “The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim,” Trump said.
Among those reacting on Twitter to his premature passing was Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who posted a statement praising Warmbier as a “young man of exceptional spirit.”
Kasich continued, “This horrendous situation further underscores the evil, oppressive nature of the North Korean regime that has such disregard for human life.”
Read other tweets below.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) June 19, 2017
A sad end for the life of a spirited adventurous young man as Otto Wambier dies in Ohio. Unforgivable North Korea torture & brutality
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) June 19, 2017
So sad for North Korea to send that Otto to die. They knew he would die in no time and only wanted him dead outside their territory RIP Otto
— The Suited Penguin (@Suited_Penguin) June 19, 2017
What will feckless trump do about murder of #OttoWarmbier by North Korea? Will he congratulate Kim Jong Un on tough stance on vandalism?
— Vic DeVille (@VicDeVille) June 19, 2017
Trump was willing to bomb syria based off no real evidence when no americans were involved so lets see what he does about north korea
— The 8th Hokage (@xtractartist) June 19, 2017
So far North Korea has
Fired missles (illegally)
Called Trumps bluff
Yet the coward Trump just said no biggie about Otto.
— Moderate Rachismo (@ModerateRachism) June 19, 2017
North Korea has officially killed an American. We don't need concession. We don't need rhetoric. We need outrage and we need action.
— Hugh Atkinson (@hugh_atkinson) June 19, 2017
This should outrage the world. North Korea murdered this guy. He should have never been detained much less in prison. Now dead because of it https://t.co/4aHE2aYipP
— Jason Upton (@jasonupton) June 19, 2017
— Chris Burger (@uvaburger) June 19, 2017