Mehran Karimi Nasseri is an Iranian refugee who spent 18 years in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. Her fascinating tale inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2004 film. “The Terminal,” He died Saturday at the airport where he had spent most of his life.

According to an airport representative, Mr. Nasseri was in his late seventies and died from a heart attack in Terminal 2F just before noon. His age was not immediately known.

Mr. Nasseri’s attachment to the airport persisted until his final days. He was in a nursing home at the time, but he returned to the airport around mid-September. “to live as a homeless person in the public space of the airport,” According to the representative.

With his soft voice and neat mustache, Mr. Nasseri was a distinctive fixture in Terminal 1 at the bustling airport. He lugged piles of his belongings around on a suitcase cart. From 1988 to 2006, he lived in the airport, first because of legal obstacles to prove his refugee status and then by choice.

He lived between a pizza place and an electronics store. He made his home on a plastic bench. He had a hand mirror, an electric razor, and a collection press clippings about his French status.

His days were punctuated both by the rhythm of flying and the presence of other travelers. He was left mostly to rest on his favorite curved bench. Regularly, airport employees would hand him meal coupons and first-class passengers would leave him toiletries.

The Sunday Review Magazine observed in 2003 that Mr. Nasseri seemed “uniquely human”. “both settled — and ready to go.”

“I realize I am famous,” In that article, Mr. Nasseri stated. “I wasn’t interesting until I came here.”

His story has become a bizarre tale of immigration history. It was difficult to find details about his family’s background due to his changing claims about where he came from. (In the same article he denied that his father was Iranian and dodged questions about his childhood in Tehran.

Airport officials confirmed that Mr. Nasseri was a resident of Iran’s Masjid-i-Sulaiman in 1995.

He had stated that he was expelled from Iran in 1977 for antigovernment activity. It was because he protested against Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as a student. When he returned from Iran, he was imprisoned, and soon exiled.

He traveled around Europe for a while, using temporary refugee papers. In 1981, he was granted official refugee status. From 1988 to 1988, Mr. Nasseri traveled freely to France and Britain without problems. He arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport carrying a one way ticket to London, clothes, $500, no passport and a few other items.

Airport authorities told him that his papers were taken at a Paris train station. The authorities waived the usual rules and allowed him to fly to Heathrow Airport in London. He was refused entry by British immigration officials and was returned to Charles de Gaulle.

Because Mr. Nasseri couldn’t prove his identity or provide proof of refugee status, he took refuge in an airport holding area for those who didn’t have papers.

He was there for many days. Then he moved on to weeks and months. He was there for months, then weeks and even months. Mr. Nasseri found himself in a legal twilight. French authorities maintained that Mr. Nasseri was illegally on French soil in the 1990s. But they could not deport him since no country would accept him.

1999 was the year he received permission to leave airport and travel wherever he desired in Europe. But he did not want to go anywhere, the airport’s medical director told The Times that year, because he was “scared to leave this bubble world” That he was living in.

“Finally getting the papers has been a huge shock to him, as if he was just thrown from his horse,” Dr. Philippe Bargain, the airport’s medical director, said. “When you wait 11 years for something and suddenly in a few minutes you sign some papers and it’s done — imagine what a shock that is.”

Charles de Gaulle had been his home. He was called Alfred by airport workers or Sir,Alfred by the staff. The nickname is based on a mistake in a letter from British immigration officers. He would wash in the airport’s restrooms and change his clothes at the cleaner.

Reporters noticed the passion with which Mr. Nasseri spoke about the airport as his story was spread through French news media, and eventually to international outlets.

Although Mr. Nasseri could not be repatriated or moved by the airport due to international refugee laws at the time, his place of residence seemed to depend on the generosity of strangers. He received money from people who heard his story. One traveler gave him a sleeping bag, and a camping mattress.

Tom Hanks portrays a refugee in the Spielberg film who is made stateless after a military coup in his homeland.

Charles de Gaulle Airport stated in Sunday’s statement that Mr. Nasseri was taken care of by its entire staff. “as much as possible for many years.”

However, the airport stated that “we would have preferred that he find a real shelter, as he was suffering from psychological problems.”

It seemed that Mr. Nasseri was happy with his surroundings, living in a place of freedom and frustration.

“The airport is not bad,” In 1999, Mr. Nasseri spoke to The Times. “It is very active and functions every day. I see different passengers every week from all over the world.”

Christine Chung Contributed reporting