Nikita Pearl Waligwa, Queen of Katwe star, dies aged 15

15 year old Queen of Katwe star dies from brain tumor
15-year-old Queen of Katwe actress, Nikita Pearl Waligwa dies from brain tumor. Pic credit: Walt Disney Studios

Disney fans are mourning the loss of 15-year-old actress, Nikita Pearl Waligwa.

The teenager, who lived in Uganda, died from a brain tumor she has battled with since the age of 12.

The tragic news was announced on Sunday via the Twitter

Part of the message reads: “Fare thee well Nikita Pearl Waligwa. You were a darling to many and we have lost you to brain tumor at such a tender age.”

Nikita starred in the Disney movie, Queen of Katwe in 2016, the same year of her brain tumor diagnosis.

She reportedly received treatment in India and had a brief recovery in 2017. However, the tumor returned in 2019, and this time for Nikita, the result was fatal.

Queen of Katwe tells the true story of a young, impoverished chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi, who beat the odds and went on to win tournaments worldwide.

Nikita played the role of Phiona’s friend, Gloria, and it is the only film the Ugandan native starred in before her untimely death.

The movie, which was produced by Walt Disney Studios was not a blockbuster hit, but it received rave reviews by critics.

Lupita Nyong’o shared a warm message about former co-star.

Lupita Nyong’o posted a photo of the young actress while writing:

“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 peace. May it be well with her soul.”

David Oyelowo also shared a heartwarming tweet, stating “We mourn the loss of our beautiful Nikita Pearl Waligwa. She was a ball of light in @queenofkatwemovie and in life. Her battle with a brain tumor was humbling to witness. Her light will live on.”

The movie’s director, Mira Nair — who helped to organize funding for Nikita’s treatment after her initial diagnosis — also tweeted her reaction to the news, saying in part, ” The heart breaks to see you gone.”

Fans of the movie have been sending condolences since the sad news broke about the bright young star.

We send condolences to her family and friends; may they find peace during this difficult tragedy.

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