Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the man who lived inside Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for years and inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2004 film “Terminal,” died Saturday at the same airport.
Naseri was pronounced dead by the airport medical team in Terminal 2F and died of natural causes, an airport spokesperson told CNN.
Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, was on his way to England via Belgium and France in 1988 when he lost his papers and was unable to board a plane or leave the airport and was stuck in limbo until 2006.
The spokesperson said he had “returned to live as a homeless person in the general area of the airport since mid-September, after staying in a nursing home”.
The spokesperson added that Nasiri was a “distinguished figure” at the airport and that “the entire airport community was attached to him, and our staff took as much care of him as they could over many years, even if we would have preferred him to find real shelter.”
While Tom Hanks memorialized Nasiri’s story inside the airport in the movie “Terminal,” an airport spokesperson noted: “Spielberg’s film suggests he was stuck in a transit area at Paris Charles de Gaulle. In fact, he spent several stays there, but always in The general area of the airport, he was always free to move around.”
The French authorities at one point offered to allow him to reside in France, but Nasiri refused the offer, reportedly because he wanted to reach his original destination, England.