Disney’s 'Queen Of Katwe' Star Nikita Pearl Waligwa Dies At Age 15
Ugandan Disney star Nikita Pearl Waligwa has died after losing a three-year battle with brain cancer. She was 15.
It is understood that the young star, who was known for her role as Ugandan chess prodigy Gloria in Disney's 'Queen of Katwe', died on Saturday evening at TMR International Hospital, in Naalya, Kampala.
Despite the fact that Nikita had been given the all-clear in 2017, just two years later, doctors discovered a second, aggressive cancer, with a family member telling local media that said Nikita been suffering a great deal of pain before she died.
They said: "The brain was swollen and it is exerting a lot of pressure."
Following Nikita's first diagnosis in 2016, the director of 'Queen of Katwe' Mira Nair raised funds to pay for the actor's treatment in India, as specialists in Uganda did not have the equipment to treat the star's cancer.
Tributes have since flooded social media following the teen's death with her co-star David Oyelowo syaing on Instagram: “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. 💔#rip”
Teachers at Gayaza High School wrote: "Fare thee well Nikita Pearl Waligwa. You were a darling to many and we have lost you to brain tumour at such a tender age. Nikita was in S.3. Rest in Perfect Peace dear."
Another message to the star read, "We woke up to the sad news of the passing of Queen of Katwe teen actress, Nikita Pearl Waligwa. It is such a low moment for the country to lose incredible young talent at a tender age. Our sincere condolences to Nikita's family."
'Queen of Katwe' was based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, who became a star of the chess world, competing in international tournaments. The film also starred award-winning Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong'o.