Tom Hanks pays tribute to the man who inspired The Terminal following his death

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Tom Hanks has paid tribute to Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the man who inspired his 2004 movie The Terminal.

The man who inspired Steven Spielberg's movie died on Saturday in Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, which he called home for 18 years.

Nasseri, nicknamed Sir Alfred, became stuck at the airport in 1988 after apparently lacking residency papers needed in France. The Iranian eventually received the correct paperwork, but choose to stay in the airport until he was hospitalised in 2006.

An airport official told The Associated Press that Nasseri had been living in Charles de Gaulle again in the weeks leading up to his death. He died following a heart attack at the airport's Terminal 2F.

Hanks paid tribute to Nasseri on Instagram on Wednesday, captioning a poster for the movie.

"Sad to hear of the passing of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, aka Alfred, from Charles de Gaulle," the actor wrote. "'The airport is not that bad.' No one knew that better than Mehran."

In The Terminal, Hanks played a man from a fictional Eastern European country who becomes trapped in John F. Kennedy airport in New York after he's denied entry to the United States but is unable to return home due to a military coup.

Nasseri's story also inspired the 1993 French movie Lost in Transit.