Warmbier's plane landed at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport at around 10.15 p.m. local time, according to a Reuters witness.
Warmbier was detained in January 2016 and sentenced to 15 years of hard labour in March 2016 for trying to steal an item with a propaganda slogan, according to North Korean media.
State Department officials said Warmbier's release followed secret talks between US and North Korean diplomats.
Annabella Vagonis, a family friend from Reston, Virginia, whose daughter was close with Warmbier at U-Va., said, "We were at turns incredulous, shocked, surprised, joyful and sad, all kind of emotions within a nanosecond of each other when we got the news this morning".
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said, "It's clear that Pyongyang has committed a grave injustice against Otto and his family, and the news that he may be returning with a serious medical problem raises concerns about what happened to him in North Korean custody". He was convicted in March 2016 and sentenced to 10 years hard labor, about a week after Warmbier's conviction - both sentences were handed down shortly after the USA had levied steeper sanctions against North Korea in response to missile testing. Rodman arrived in North Korea on June 13 after saying he wants to "open the door" to the regime and claiming that US President Donald Trump would be pleased with his mission.
Here's his latest foray into North Korean diplomacy. The White House has responded at various times with tough talk and warnings that Washington's "strategic patience" with Pyongyang is now at an end. That would be grounds in North Korea for a subversion charge. He was serving a 15-year service for pinching a poster while on a student trip to North Korea.
The State Department advises "strongly" against visits by USA citizens to North Korea, noting that at least 16 Americans have been detained there over the last decade.
"This system imposes unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States and threatens US citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with 'wartime law of the DPRK'". Two of them - Kim Hak Song and Kim Sang Duk - are teachers of Korean origin who worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, and the third is a South Korea-born American named Kim Dong-chul. 'The journey for them has been very hard, to say the least, and they still need our support and love'. "Take care of Otto", Trump is said to have instructed his top diplomat.
At least three American citizens are still being held in North Korea. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported his arrest for "hostile acts" toward the state the following day, but offered no details about his age, occupation or alleged crime.
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Richardson said his center in Sante Fe, N.M. received a call Tuesday from the Warmbiers with an update on their son's condition.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declined to comment on Mr. Warmbier's condition "out of respect for the privacy" of the family.
Americans have been sentenced to years in North Korean prisons for such seemingly minor offenses as stealing a political banner and likely could not expect leniency if the country's drug laws were violated.
The North Koreans later urgently requested another meeting in NY, and Yun met North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations on June 6, when he was told about Warmbier's "condition", the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Seoul said last month that it will flexibly resume civilian inter-Korean exchanges to an extent that the move does not compromise the global sanctions regime.
Mr Rodman is a friend of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and has made several visits to the country in recent years.
And Yun was dispatched to North Korea and visited Warmbier with two doctors on Monday, and demanded his release. Warmbier's family said in a statement that he is in a coma and on his way home.
Republican Senator Rob Portman says North Korea should be "universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior".
Dennis Rodman, the former National Basketball Association bad boy who has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, flew back to Pyongyang on Tuesday for the first time in Donald Trump's presidency.