“Queen of Katwe” Actor Nikita Pearl Waligwa Has Died

De Elizabeth

Nikita Pearl Waligwa, who starred in Disney’s Queen of Katwe, has died at the age of 15.

The BBC reports that the young Ugandan actor had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016. In 2017, she was given the all-clear by medical professionals, but was later discovered to have another tumor in 2019.

Metro notes that, according to Ugandan newspaper The Daily Monitor, Queen of Katwe’s director Mira Nair tried to raise awareness about Nikita’s diagnosis and attempted to raise funds for treatment in India, with Ugandan doctors saying they did not have the necessary equipment to treat the actor. One fan on social media remarked that they remembered donating for her surgery at the time, adding that they were "sad she didn't survive her illness."

Queen of Katwe was released in 2016, and told the true story of Phiona Mutesi (portrayed by Madina Nalwanga), a Ugandan girl who learns to play chess and ultimately becomes Woman Candidate Master. Nikita played Gloria, Phiona’s friend, who helped her learn the rules of chess. The film also starred Lupita Nyong’o as Phiona’s mother.

As news of Nikita’s passing hit social media, many began reacting to the tragedy by mourning her loss at such a young age. “RIP young queen,” one person tweeted, with another describing the star as “a brilliant talent.”

Related: Why We Feel So Sad After Celebrity Deaths

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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue