The Iranian man who lived for 18 years in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport died on Saturday after a heart attack. The story of 76-year-old Mehran Karimi Nasseri inspired the Steven Spielberg film “The Terminal”.
Nasseri lived in the airport’s Terminal 2F.
He lived in the airport’s terminal from 1988 until 2006, first in legal limbo because he lacked residency papers and later, apparently by choice, Al Jazeera reported.
In Iran, Nasseri was imprisoned for protesting against the shah and expelled without a passport.
He applied for political asylum in several countries in Europe, including the UK, but was rejected.
Eventually, the UN refugee agency in Belgium gave him refugee credentials, but he said his briefcase containing the refugee certificate was stolen at a Paris train station.
French police arrested him, but couldn’t deport him anywhere because he had no official documents.
He ended up at Charles de Gaulle in August 1988, where he stayed till 2006.
When his refugee papers finally arrived, he reportedly refused to sign them and ended up staying there several more years until he was hospitalised in 2006.
He was then shifted to a Paris shelter. But In the weeks before his death, Nasseri had gone back to living at Charles de Gaulle.
Nasseri’s story inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2004 movie The Terminal, as well as a French film Lost in Transit, and an opera called Flight.
Nasseri also wrote an autobiography titled The Terminal Man published in 2004.