Stalin's daughter Lana Peters dies in US of cancer

Stalin with his daughter Svetlana in a undated photo

Image caption

Svetlana was a Soviet celebrity as a child - her defection as an adult embarrassed the Communist party

The only daughter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin has died in the US at the age of 85.

Svetlana Alliluyeva, also known as Lana Peters, died of colon cancer at a care home in the state of Wisconsin last Tuesday, officials say.

Her defection from the Soviet Union in 1967 was a propaganda coup for the US. She wrote four books, including two best-selling memoirs.

But she said she could not escape the shadow of her father.

'Little sparrow'

When Peters arrived in the US, she said she had come for the "self-expression that has been denied me for so long in Russia".

She said her defection was partly motivated by the Soviet authorities' poor treatment of Brajesh Singh, an Indian communist whom she had a relationship with.

Famous exiles from USSR

Igor Gouzenko - spy, 1945, Canada

Rudolf Nureyev - ballet star, 1961, France

Anatoly Golitsyn - KGB officer, 1961, Finland

Alexander Solzhenitsyn - dissident writer, 1974, expelled to US

Viktor Korchnoi, chess grand master - 1976, Netherlands

Arkady Shevchenko, UN Under-Secretary General - 1978, US

Viktoria Mullova, violinist - 1983, Finland

Natan Sharansky, human rights activist - 1986, Israel

Although she later referred to Singh as her husband, the two were never allowed to marry.

Peters went to India in 1966 to spread Singh's ashes, but instead of returning to the Soviet Union she walked into the US embassy to seek political asylum.

She burned her passport, denouncing communism and her father, whom she called "a moral and spiritual monster".

She graduated from Moscow University in 1949, initially working as a teacher and translator.

Peters was married three times and had two daughters and a son.

Her first memoir, Twenty Letters to a Friend, was published in 1967 and made more than $2.5m (