15-Year-Old Disney Star Nikita Pearl Waligwa Has Died

Nikita succumbed to brain cancer on Saturday at TMR International Hospital in Naalya, a Kampala suburb.

The Ugandan actress was diagnosed with the brain tumor in 2016.

Waligwa rose to worldwide fame in the 2016 film starring Oscar-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo, based on the true story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi.

According to Ugandan paper theDaily Monitor, Queen of Katwe director Mira Nair tried to raise funds to bring Waligwa to Nair's home country of India for treatment, as Ugandan doctors were quoted as saying "they did not have the necessary equipment". Waligwa reportedly died due to a brain tumor.

"Fare thee well Nikita Pearl Waligwa". She made a recovery in 2017, but the tumor returned past year.

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"We are gutted as Gayaza High community", reads the tweet.

In "Queen of Katwe", Nikita had played the role of Gloria, a friend of Phiona Mutesi, who happened to have explained the rules of chess to the young actress.

"Condolences. This Ugandan born girl stunned the Disney Film World when she starred in the sensational movie, Queen of Katwe, as a chess prodigy in 2016".

Nyong'o played Mutesi's mother, while Oyelowo played her chess coach, Robert Katende, who helped her become one of the nation's top chess players.

  • Michelle Webb