The teenager died at TMR International Hospital in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Saturday, February 15, according to local media, after losing her battle with a brain tumour. She was first diagnosed with the tumour in 2016 and, after radiotherapy, she was told she was cancer-free a year later. However, another tumour was detected in 2019.
Nikita was most famous for starring in the Disney film, taking on the role of a friend of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, alongside David Oyelowo and Lupita.
Sharing a snap of Nikita in the movie, Lupita wrote: "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 (sic). May it be well with her soul."
Oyelowo also remembered Nikita in a post on his Instagram page, writing: "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."