To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident

However, North Korea claimed Warmbier contracted the illness and became comatose as a result of taking a sleeping pill.

The family announced Warmbier's death in a statement, saying that 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 received today".

When Warmbier arrived in OH, doctors discovered that he had experienced extensive brain damage throughout most areas of his brain.

"The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week after his return to the his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us as well", the spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Warmbier was detained in North Korea in January 2016 after allegedly removing a political poster from a hotel during a trip to the country with fellow college students.

The North Koreans said that constituted a "hostile act" - and sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor.

More than a year went by without public word of Warmbier before the State Department learned of his dire condition on June 6.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that China had been ineffective so far in its efforts to use its leverage with Pyongyang.

He claimed that Warmbier had been the victim of Barack Obama's policy of "strategic patience" towards the regime, since he had never requested the student's release during his presidency.

His death heightened the conflict between the North and the United States already aggravated by North Korea's defiant missile launches and two nuclear tests since early past year as part of its effort to build a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the USA mainland.

Rodman's agent Chris Volo, who also sat in on the interview, told co-host Michael Strahan that he'd asked for Warmbier's release multiple times while working out the details of Rodman's latest trip with delegates.

North Korea has denied torturing University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier. I know being there had something to do with it. He added: "I addressed ..."

Volo said they hope to meet with the family but have been told "it just couldn't happen".

In an interview with Good Morning America on Friday, former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman suggested he helped secure Otto Warmbier's release from detention in North Korea. "I look at the friendship about him", Rodman said.

Following Wednesday's dialogue, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said such talks "provide an opportunity to consider how we're going to engage and how we're going to live with one another over the next 40 years".

  • Leroy Wright