The Iranian born Nasseri is thought to have been born in 1945, but it’s what happened to him in 1988 which came to define his life.
Landing in France but lacking the necessary residency papers, Nasseri was forced to live in the airport after not being allowed to leave it.
He was unable to return to Iran as he had been expelled from the country without a passport, leading him to seek asylum in Europe.
Nasseri was given the right to seek refuge in Belgium, but he said that his luggage containing his official documents was stolen in a Parisian train station.
Arrested by French police, they couldn’t deport him anywhere as he lacked any sort of official documents and he ended up in Charles de Gaulle airport in August 1988.
For the next 18 years, he would be a permanent fixture in the airport’s Terminal 1, spending most of that time being stuck in legal limbo.
When the refuge papers finally cleared in 1999, he was nervous about leaving the airport and reportedly refused to sign them, spending several more years living in the airport.
He would sleep on a red plastic bench inside the airport and managed to make friends with the staff working at the terminal, they nicknamed him ‘Lord Alfred’ and he became a famous face for passengers as they journeyed through the airport.
He later continued to live in Charles de Gaulle airport by personal choice, calling the airport his home until 2006 when he was hospitalised and his sleeping area in the airport dismantled.
Once out of the airport, Nasseri lived in a shelter in Paris, though Charles de Gaulle staff said that in the final weeks before his death, he had started living in the airport again.
He passed away from a heart attack in the airport’s Terminal 2F on 12 November, with a medical team unable to resuscitate him.
Throughout his stay at the airport, staff became worried that Nasseri was becoming unable to adjust to life outside.
Nasseri’s life story ended up becoming the loose inspiration for 2004 movie The Terminal starring Tom Hanks as a man unable to return to his home country and forced to live in an airport.
While Hanks’ character was from a fictional Eastern European country and he spent his time living in JFK airport in the US, the key idea of a man trapped in political limbo and forced to live in an airport terminal was the main inspiration behind the movie.