Nikita Pearl Waligwa popularly Gloria in Disney movie’s Queen of Katwe succumbed to brain tumor aged 15.
Gloria was a friend to Lupita’s daughter Phiona Mutesi in the Disney movie and she is the one who explained to her how chess was played.
Gloria was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 and according to sources Disney footed her bill in India and was given the all-clear in 2017 but in 2018, she was found to have another tumour.
Her death was announced by Gayaza High Schoool, where she studied. A statement on the school’s official Twitter account read,
You were a darling to many and we have lost you to a brain tumor at such a tender age.
Lupita Nyong’o also penned a touching letter to the fallen superstar.
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. May it be well with her soul,’ she wrote.
The movie, which was shot in Katwe, one of Uganda’s biggest slums, is still the most talked up to date.