Disney Actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa Dies at 15 of Brain Tumor

February 16, 2020 Updated: February 17, 2020
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A 15-year-old child actress who appeared in a 2016 Disney film about a chess prodigy has died, according to local officials.

Nikita Pearl Waligwa, who appeared in “Queen of Katwe,” died on Saturday at a hospital near the Ugandan capital, Kampala, her school confirmed. Her cause of death was due to a brain tumor.

“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 was in S.3. Rest in Perfect Peace dear,” Gayaza High School wrote on social media.

It added that her community was left “gutted” by the development. “No words can explain the pain at the moment. R.I.P Nikita,” the school wrote.

According to The Associated Press, Waligwa was frequently hospitalized due to her condition. She also had received surgery in India.

A number of Ugandans expressed sadness and sympathy for her family on social media after her death.

“May Nikita’s soul rest in perfect eternal peace,” one person wrote in the school’s Twitter thread. Another added, “May she rest with the angels.”

The film was about a chess prodigy who lived in a poor Ugandan community, based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, who started playing at the age of nine and competed in international tournaments. Waligwa appeared along alongside actress Lupita Nyongo, who played her mother, and David Oyelowo, who played her chess teacher.