Standing outside his home in Pasadena late Friday, the son of Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old war veteran turned North Korean prisoner, thanked those who helped and prayed for his father's release, announced earlier in the day.

A retired tech executive, Newman was pulled off an airplane about to leave the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Oct. 26 at the end of a 10-day tour, after speaking to his guides there about his service in a clandestine anti-communist army unit during the 1950-53 Korean War.

His son, Jeffrey Newman, urged people to remember another U.S. citizen whose fate was unknown in the hermetic country.

"We ... ask that you not forget another American, Kenneth Bae, who is still being held in the DPRK, and we hope that he too will be allowed to join his family soon," Newman said during a brief news conference.

Bae has been held by North Korea for more than a year for missionary activities, which are illegal in the country.

The U.S State Department confirmed that Newman has been released and was in Beijing on his way back to the United States.

Newman, from Palo Alto, is expected to return home Saturday. His son thanked the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang for helping his father while in custody.

"This is a great moment for us as a family, and it will be even better when we have a chance to be back together in a few hours," the younger Newman said.

"After Merrill comes home and has a chance to get a well deserved rest, we will have more to say about his unusual and difficult journey."

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