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Mehran Karimi Nasseri who inspired Tom Hanks film The Terminal dies at airport

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The man who inspired Tom Hanks film The Terminal has died – back at the airport where he previously lived for 18 years.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, thought to be aged 77, was living in Terminal 2F of Charles de Gaulle Airport when he suffered a heart attack on Saturday, Paris airport authority said.

Airport medics were unable to save him.

The Iranian man’s story was both sad and incredible.

Mr Nasseri claimed that he had been expelled from Iran in 1977 because he had taken part in protests against the Shah. This has since been disputed.

While his father was Iranian, his mother was Scottish, so he decided to settle in the UK.

But arriving in London in 1988, Mr Nasseri got into trouble when he claimed his papers were lost after his briefcase was allegedly stolen.

Refused entry into Britain, he was sent back to France on August 26, 1988, but while his entry into Terminal 1 of the airport was legal, he had no country of origin to return to.

So he began living at the departure lounge.

Court cases through the years found that while he couldn’t legally be expelled from the terminal, he equally couldn’t be granted entry into France.

Both France and Belgium offered Mr Nasseri residency at various times, but he refused to sign the papers as they listed him as being Iranian instead of British.

His story inspired documentaries, an opera and films, including the 2004 Hollywood film starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones, The Terminal.

In 2003, director Steven Spielberg paid Mr Nasseri $US250,000 for the rights to his story.

Eventually, in 2006, his stay at the airport ended when he was hospitalised and his “home” at Terminal 1 dismantled. He left hospital in 2007 and lived in a Paris shelter.

Paris airport authority said that in recent weeks he had returned to live at Charles de Gaulle Airport, though the reasons for this are unknown.

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