‘Queen Of Katwe’ Actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa Dead At 15

Young actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa has passed away at the age of 15 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Waligwa appeared in 2016’s Queen of Katwe, which starred Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and Madina Nalwanga. Based on true events, the film told the story of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl living in Katwe who becomes a chess prodigy and leads the Uganda team at the Chess Olympiad in Russia.

Waligwa played Gloria, a friend of Phiona’s who explains the rules of chess to her.

BBC reports that the actress was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016. Following the diagnosis, Queen of Katwe director Mira Nair reportedly worked with others to fund treatment for Waligwa.

In 2017, the actress was deemed tumor-free but was diagnosed again last year.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.