MOSCOW -- The Soviet Union Monday mourned American schoolgirl Samantha Smith, who died in a plane crash two years after President Yuri Andropov wished her 'all the best in your life, which you have only begun to live.'
The newspaper Izvestia ran a headline saying, 'Samantha Smith killed in Air Crash.'
The Tass news agency said, 'The name of Samantha Smith was well-known in the U.S.S.R. and around the world.'
A television news commentator narrating a picture story about the 13-year-old from Manchester, Maine, saying: 'Now you see Samantha Smith addressing children of her age.
'It is difficult to believe that the voice of this distinguished young American will not be heard any longer,' he said.
The news program, 'Today in the World,' reported the crash of the Bar Harbor Airlines plane while attempting to land Sunday night at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport in Maine. Samantha, her father Arthur, and six other people were killed.
'She lived a short life but she managed to do much,' the commentator said.
In 1983, Samantha, wrote a letter to Andropov congratulating him on becoming president of the Soviet Union and asking why Moscow 'wants to conquer the world, or at least the United States.'
'We want nothing of the sort,' Andropov replied, and invited her to come to the Soviet Union to see for herself. He thanked her for her congratulations and wished her 'all the best in your life, which you have only begun to live.'
Samantha became the object of world attention when she and her parents visited the Soviet Union as Andropov's guests. But they never met the Soviet leader, who died several months later.
The commentator also praised the girl's attempts to extend a hand of friendship to Soviet children and her recent project, an account of her trip to the Soviet Union.
'When she was back in the United States, she published a book about our country. It was honest and sincere,' the news program said.
The Soviet commentator also said Samantha's favorable reports about the Soviet Union may have made her enemies.
'Reactionaries often threatened the young American and her parents, but they failed to make her feel threatened,' said the television commentator.