About 2,000 people packed into a school for Otto Warmbier's funeral Thursday in Wyoming, near Cincinnati.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US will "hold North Korea accountable" for Warmbier's "unjust imprisonment", and is also demanding the release of three other Americans who are being detained. After worldwide outrage and over a year of imprisonment, North Korea released Warmbier last week, saying his health had deteriorated after a bout of botulism.
Warmbier was accused of stealing a propaganda poster.
The exact cause of his death is unclear.
It was his life that held mourners' attention as they fondly remembered a spirited student-athlete who was socially magnetic and had a positive impact on the people around him, whether it was in class, at a swim club or in his travels.
A bagpiper played as the casket was carried to a hearse, and mourners lined the street.
Speaking at the funeral, Ohio Senator Rob Portman said: "I think we need to tighten the sanctions, I think we need to focus more on the human rights abuses, I think we need to do more in terms of putting pressure on North Korea".
Vagonis, who had dated Warmbier for more than a year prior to his detainment, said at the vigil that it was the support of her friends and family that has helped her through the heartbreaking months.
His former football coach, Steve Thomas, said Warmbier came from a religious family and was involved in mission trips and a birthright trip to Israel.
Doctors at the hospital said he had suffered a severe neurological injury from an unknown cause. "He wasn't big on doing things because he was supposed to do it". The front of the funeral program included a quote from Warmbier's 2013 graduation speech: "This is our season finale. This is the end of one great show, but just the beginning to hundreds of new spin-offs".
Wyoming officials say the service for Otto Warmbier in the Wyoming High School auditorium will be open to the public Thursday, but not to news media.
"It was not just my life he made more colorful, but everyone else's", she said.
Warmbier traveled to North Korea with Young Pioneer Tours, a China-based travel company, and planned to stay in the country for five days before flying to Beijing for a 10-day tour.
This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on June 20 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visiting a newly built dental sanitary goods factory.