Lupita Nyong’o pays tribute to ‘Queen of Katwe’ co-star Nikita Pearl Waligwa, 15, after her death from a brain tumor

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Lupita Nyong'o is mourning the death of Nikita Pearl Waligwa. Getty/ Instagram
By :
AT Team

Actress Lupita Nyong’o is mourning the death of Nikita Pearl Waligwa, one of her young co-stars in the 2016 Disney movie Queen of Katwe.

The Oscar winner remembered Waligwa, who played the friend of the main character in the family film, as a “sweet, warm, talented girl” in an emotional statement she shared Sunday.

“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 piece,” Lupita posted.

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Uganda’s Queen of Katwe star Nikita Pearl Waligwa dies aged 15

Queen of Katwe is Waligwa’s sole acting credit. The movie was based on the true story of young Phiona Mutesi, a girl from one the Ugandan slums village who became a renown chess player, playing tournaments around the world.

Following Nyong’o’s words, the movie’s director, Mira Nair, also paid tribute to Waligwa.

“The heart breaks to see you gone, too young, too soon,” she wrote in part.

David Oyelowo, another Queen of Katwe star, wrote a loving message to her just after the sad news of her death. “She was a ball of light in [Queen of Katwe] and in life,” he said.

Nikita who had been in and out of hospitals in Uganda and India, was first diagonised with a brain tumour in 2016. Consequently, Queen of Katwe director Mira Nair reportedly mobilised people to help fund her treatment in India, with Ugandan doctors quoted as saying they did not have the necessary equipment.

She was given the all-clear in 2017 but last year was found to have another tumour.

Nikita was laid to rest on Monday February 17, 2020 at her father’s home in Kabojja.

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