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Dennis Rodman didn’t play role in freeing U.S. student imprisoned in North Korea: officials

Click to play video: 'Trump brags about getting Otto Warmbier back from North Korea' Trump brags about getting Otto Warmbier back from North Korea
WATCH: Trump brags about getting Otto Warmbier back from North Korea – Jun 16, 2017

The release of an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea and returned to the U.S. with severe brain damage was not influenced in any way by the visit of former NBA star Dennis Rodman to Pyongyang, U.S. and North Korean officials said.

Otto Warmbier, who spent 17 months in a North Korean prison, was released hours before Rodman’s arrival in the country.

Warmbier fell into a coma while serving his sentence. He is now receiving treatment at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Doctors in Ohio described him as being in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness” but declined to discuss his outlook for improvement, saying such information would be kept confidential.

READ MORE: U.S. student released by North Korea after being held captive for 17 months

Three more American citizens remain in North Korean custody.

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U.S. President Donald Trump celebrated Warmbier’s return to the U.S. saying, “what’s happened to him is a truly terrible thing but at least the ones who love him so much can now take care of him and be with him.”

Meanwhile, Rodman vowed to return to North Korea as soon as possible.

WATCH: Otto Warmbier’s father slams North Korea for his son’s condition

Click to play video: 'Otto Warmbier’s father slams North Korea for his son’s condition' Otto Warmbier’s father slams North Korea for his son’s condition
Otto Warmbier’s father slams North Korea for his son’s condition – Jun 15, 2017

 

On his way to the airport, Rodman vowed to return and said his “thoughts and prayers” are with Warmbier’s family

During his visit, Rodman played basketball with men’s and women’s teams, visited the city zoo, met Olympic athletes and presented the country’s sports minister with a copy of President Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal.” The unsigned book, and a “Where’s Waldo” travel edition, were to be passed on to leader Kim Jong Un, who Rodman had met on previous visits in 2013 band 2014.

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READ MORE: Dennis Rodman heads back to North Korea: reports

Rodman’s earlier trips generated a storm of publicity, especially when he regaled leader Kim with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” at an exhibition game he had arranged that included some other former NBA players. On the same trip, he suggested an American missionary was at fault for his own imprisonment in North Korea, remarks for which he later apologized.

Although U.S. citizens are not banned from visiting North Korea, the U.S. State Department strongly advises against it.

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