Mujeres Imparables Fireside Chat With Lupita Nyong'o At Telemundo Center In Support Of US

In memoriam

Lupita Nyong’o leads tributes as her ‘sweet, talented’ Disney co-star dies at 15

Queen of Katwe actress Nikita Waligwa died after a battle with a brain tumor

Tragedy struck the Disney family on Saturday after Queen of Katwe co-star Nikita Pearl Waligwa died at just 15 years old after a battle with a brain tumor. The teenager played Gloria opposite young actress Madina Nalwanga – who starred as 10-year-old chess prodigy Phiona – as well as Selma star David Oyelowo and  Lupita Nyong'o  in the 2016 film.

Joining stars like A Wrinkle in Time’s  Mindy Kaling  in mourning the loss, Oscar winner Lupita led tributes to the young talent on Instagram, posting a still of Nikita from the movie alongside a heartbreaking statement: "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.


Premiere Of Disney's "Queen Of Katwe" - Arrivals©GettyImages
Nikita’s Queen of Katwe co-stars Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo paid tribute to the young actress, who died on Saturday

"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."

Mindy Kaling was among those who commented on the post, writing: "This is terrible news. Loved her and loved the film."

Queen of Katwe's David Oyelowo also paid homage to the "beautiful" teen. "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."


Nikita, who was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, the year Queen of Katwe was released, was declared cancer-free in 2017. However, a second tumor was detected last year and on February 15 she died at TMR International Hospital Kampala, Uganda.

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