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Nikita Pearl Waligwa dead – star of Disney’s Queen of Katwe dies aged 15 after brain tumour returned

TEENAGED Disney star Nikita Pearl Waligwa has died after her losing her three year battle with brain cancer, aged only 15.

Nikita, who starred in Queen of Katwe, was given the all clear in 2017 but doctors in India found a second aggressive tumour only two years later.

Tributes have been pouring in for the "talented soul", who "stunned the Disney Film World" and had "so much potential".

Nikita passed away on Saturday night after battling a brain tumour that was first diagnosed in the same year the smash hit film was released.

She starred in the 2016 Disney film about a chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi, from a Ugandan slum.

The young actress played the part of Gloria, a pal of Mutesi, as they grew up in Katwe - the largest of Kampala's slums.

The film is based on the true story of a young girl who took up chess aged nine and went on to compete internationally.

Oscar-winning Lupita Nyong'o took on the role of Mutesi's mum, and David Oyelowo played her chess teacher.

The film was seen as a great opportunity for unknown young actors to star alongside Hollywood-elite's and showcase their talent, of which Nikita was a perfect example.

Nikita was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016, and the director of the Disney film reportedly funded treatment for her in India as Ugandan doctors reportedly did not have the necessary equipment.

She had surgery and underwent radiotherapy to treat the tumour.

The young actress was given the all-clear in 2017, but tragically found to have another tumour last year.

A family member said she was in a lot of pain, they added: "The brain was swollen and it is exerting a lot of pressure."

Ugandan media reports she tragically died on Saturday night at TMR International Hospital, in Naalya, Kampala.

The teen had allegedly been awaiting another surgery to remove the tumour when she passed away.

Nikita will be laid to rest on Monday at her father's home in Kabojja.

Tributes to the young star have come pouring in.

Gayaza High School, where she was educated and was in S.3, has made multiple posts, calling her "a darling to many" and that "no words can explain the pain at the moment" in the "gutted" community.

Her teachers at the girls secondary wrote: “Fare thee well Nikita Pearl Waligwa. You were a darling to many and we have lost you to brain tumour at such a tender age. Nikita was in S.3. Rest in Perfect Peace dear.”

Another post said: “It is such a low moment for the country to lose incredible young talent at a tender age. Our sincere condolences to Nikita’s family.”

Others said her death was a loss to Uganda: “Its so sad to see a country lose such a talented spirit. A what was supposed to be the beginning of a new wave here in Uganda. Rest in Peace dear Nikita Pearl Waligwa. You’ve been a great inspiration to many Adolescents and Young People and your work shall prevail!”

Others called her "a talented soul", who "stunned the Disney Film World" and had "so much potential".

Fawole John Oyeyemi wrote in tribute: "Sad news coming from Uganda about 15-year-old Nikita Pearl who just died of brain cancer. Nikita, known as Gloria in her role in Queen of Katwe.

"My favorite part of the movie was when she shouted in the tournament playing hall, “He took my Queen” May her soul find rest."

Hama Edgar wrote: "The Story that we know now is just a part of her joyous Smile, she has done her best! She has grown wings and flown Home. Fare thee well our friend."

Nikita's mother Rachel had also reportedly been diagnosed with cancer and given two months to live, but miraculously beat the odds.

Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo have not yet made a public comment on her death.

Disney has also been approached for comment by The Sun Online.

See Lupita Nyong'o star in Disney's Uganda-based, Queen of Katwe trailer

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