A public funeral was held on Thursday for Otto Warmbier, an American student who died shortly after being released from North Korea.
According to Fox News, the funeral service was held in the auditorium at Warmbier’s alma mater, Wyoming High School, in his home town. By the time the funeral had started, the auditorium was filled to capacity with more than 2,000 people squeezing in to pay their respects to the 22-year-old University of Virginia student. Among those in attendance were Ambassador Joseph Yun, one of the people who traveled to Pyongyang to bring Warmbier back, and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from the Cincinnati area. The service celebrated Otto’s life, with friends and family members reminiscing about the student-athlete who seemed to have a positive impact on everyone he came in contact with.
“It doesn’t really feel real yet. He’s so young, and he’s been gone for so long,” Grady Beerck, one of Warmbier’s former soccer teammates, said. “The impact he made is always going to last with people.”
Beerck added, “Didn’t matter what time of day or what he was doing, he’d drop everything to help his friends. He was a goofy kid. He always just lived life to the fullest.”
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Warmbier had been held in North Korea for 17 months after he was accused of attempting to steal a propaganda banner while he was visiting the country with a tour group. Otto was convicted of subversion, and in March 2016 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Warmbier was returned to his home in Wyoming, Ohio, on June 13. When he arrived, he was in a coma, which North Korea said was due to him contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill. However, the doctors in Cincinnati said they found no signs of botulism.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) June 22, 2017
Otto passed away shortly after his return home. Before his death, the doctors said he had suffered an extensive loss of brain tissue from a “severe neurological injury” and “profound weakness and contraction” of his muscles, arms, and legs. Otto’s family chose not to have an autopsy performed.
During the funeral, attendees were given a handout that featured a photo of Warmbier and his mother. Along with the picture, a quote from Otto’s 2013 salutatorian speech was included: “This is our season finale. This is the end of one great show, but just the beginning to hundreds of new spin-offs.”
— Fox Nation (@foxnation) June 22, 2017
Warmbier had planned to study in China during his third year of college and had heard about travel companies offering trips to North Korea. It was when he was leaving the country on Jan. 2, 2016, that he was detained by law enforcement. Three Americans are still currently being held in North Korea.
[Featured Image by Bryan Woolston/AP Images]