Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo are mourning the death of their Queen of Katwe co-star Nikita Waligwa.
The 15-year-old actress – who portrayed Gloria in the 2016 Disney movie about real-life young chess whiz Phiona Mutesi – tragically passed away on Saturday after losing her battle with brain cancer.
“May she (Nikita Waligwa) truly rest in peace.”— Lupita Nyong’o
The Little Monsters actress – Phiona’s mother Nakku Harriet in the movie – shared a picture of Nikita with the quote from the film, “In chess, the small one can become the big one.”
She also hailed the Ugandan star as a “warm, talented girl” and sent her “thoughts and prayers” to her family.
Lupita captioned the touching Instagram post: “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 peace. May it be well with her soul.”
David – who played teacher Robert Katende in the heartwarming movie – also posted a moving tribute in which he said Nikita’s “light will live on”.
He wrote alongside the same image: “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. #rip (sic)”
Nikita was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 and was in remission a year later. However, another tumour was found in 2019.
It had been reported that Nikita was set to undergo more surgery to remove the tumour when she sadly passed away.
The actress will be laid to rest on Monday at the home of her father in Kabojja, Uganda. A funeral service is due to take place at 3 p.m. at Namirembe Cathedral.