Nikita Pearl Waligwa, best known for her role in the 2016 Disney film Queen Of Katwe, has died at the age of 15. According to sources, the Ugandan actress had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016.
David Oyelowo, who starred alongside Waligwa in the Queen Of Katwe, remembers her as a “ball of light.”
“We mourn the loss of our beautiful Nikita Pearl Waligwa,” he captioned a photo of the actress via Instagram on Sunday. “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”
Queen of Katwe was based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a 9-year-old chess prodigy from the slums of Uganda. Waligwa played the role of Phiona’s friend Gloria, who taught her how to play chess.