Otto Warmbier. Pic/AFP
Otto Warmbier. Pic/AFP

An American university student held prisoner in North Korea for 17 months died at a Cincinnati hospital on Monday, just days after he was released from captivity in a coma, his family said. Otto Warmbier, 22, who was arrested in North Korea while visiting as a tourist, had been described by doctors caring for him last week as having extensive brain damage that left him in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness."

"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," the family said in a statement after Warmbier's death.

His family has said that Warmbier lapsed into a coma in March 2016, shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea. There was no immediate word from Warmbier's family on the cause of his death.