Lupita Nyong'o Pays Tribute to Queen of Katwe's Nikita Waligwa After Her Death at Age 15 [Photo]

“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,” Nyong’o wrote. “She played Gloria with such vibrancy.”

Lupita Nyong’o is mourning the death of her “Queen of Katwe” co-star, Nikita Pearl Waligwa.

According to multiple outlets on Sunday, Waligwa, who starred alongside Nyong’o and David Oyelowo in the 2016 Disney film about a chess prodigy from a Ugandan slum, passed away at the age of 15 after a battle with brain cancer.

Nyong’o, who played Waligwa’s mother in the film, took to Instagram to honor the young actress, remembering her as”sweet, warm and talented.” Nyong’o shared a photo of Waligwa’s character, Gloria, along with a quote from her character, which read: “In chess, the small one can become the big one.”

“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,” Nyong’o captioned the post. “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. May it be well with her soul.”

Actress Mindy Kaling commented on the post, “This is terrible news,” she wrote. “Loved her and loved the film.”

Oyelowo, who starred as the chess teacher of Waligwa’s character, Gloria, also paid tribute to the young star on Instagram. Sharing the same photo as Nyong’o, the actor wrote, “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 tumor was humbling to witness. Her light will live on. ?#rip”

Octavia Spencer and Olivia Munn reacted to the sad news in the comments section of Oyelowo’s post. “Oh, Nooooo!!!!?? praying for her loved ones!” Spencer wrote, while Munn shared multiple heart emojis.

According to the BBC, Waligwa was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016. Mira Nair, the director of “Queen of Katwe,” reportedly helped raise funds for Waligwa’s treatment in India as Ugandan doctors said they didn’t have the necessary equipment.

Waligwa recovered in 2017, but last year another tumor was found.

She was 15.

[via TooFab]

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