Lupita Nyong’o paid tribute to her late Queen of Katwe co-star Nikita Pearl Waligwa in a touching post on Sunday.
The 15-year-old died at TMR International Hospital in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Saturday, according to local media, after losing her battle with a brain tumour. She was first diagnosed with the tumour in 2016 and, after radiotherapy, she was told she was cancer-free a year later. However, another tumour was detected in 2019.
Waligwa was most famous for starring in the Disney film, taking on the role of Gloria, a friend of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, alongside David Oyelowo and Nyong’o.
Sharing a snap of Waligwa in the movie, the Oscar winner wrote: “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.
“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 (sic). May it be well with her soul.”
Among those responding to her post was Late Night star Mindy Kaling, who commented: “This is terrible news. Loved her and loved the film.”
Oyelowo also remembered Waligwa in a post on his Instagram page, writing: “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 tumour was humbling to witness. Her light will live on.”