Nikita Pearl Waligwa, the young Ugandan newcomer who starred in “Queen of Katwe,” the 2016 Disney film about a chess champion’s coming of age, has died of a brain tumor. She was 15.
The young actress had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, and was cleared of the disease before it recurred.
2016 film was based on true story of Phiona Mutesi, who took up chess aged 9 despite not being in school, went on to compete in international tournaments.
She had been battling a tumour for about 3 years.
David Oyelowo paid tribute to the young star: “We mourn the loss of our beautiful Nikita Pearl Waligwa. She was a ball of light in Queen of Katwe and in life. Her battle with a brain tumor was humbling to witness. Her light will live on”
Lupita mourned her saying
It is with great sadness that I post about the passing of Nikita Waligwa, the sweet, warm, talented girl whom I worked with on the film, Queen Of Katwe. She played Gloria with such vibrancy. In her real life she had the enormous challenge of battling brain cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and community as they come to terms with having to say goodbye so soon. May she truly rest in piece. May it be well with her soul.