Man Who Inspired Tom Hanks' Character in 'The Terminal' Dies in Paris Airport

He lived inside the airport for 18 years.

Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the man who inspired Steven Speilberg's The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks, has passed away inside the Paris airport.

The Iranian man lived in the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for 18 years and passed away on Saturday, Nov. 12, according to an official with the Paris airport security, per NBC News.

He reportedly suffered a heart attack inside Terminal 2F. According to the outlet, the unnamed security official mentioned that police and a medical team had treated him at the scene but were not able to save him.

Nasseri first settled into Terminal 1 of the airport in 1988, after French police were unable to deport him due to his lack of documentation. According to NPR, he was imprisoned for protesting against the shah and expelled from Iran without his passport. He was eventually granted refugee credentials from Belgium, but said that he lost them when his briefcase was stolen. 

He ultimately declared himself stateless and chose to reside in the Paris airport, where he stayed until he was hospitalized in 2006, then moved into a Paris shelter. 

Airport officials have stated that he began living in the airport again just weeks before his death.

Nasseri's unique situation is what inspired Speilberg to write his 2004 film, which follows an Eastern European man, named Viktor Navaorski, who chose to reside in New York City's John F. Kennedy airport after being denied entry into the United States.

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