Nikita Pearl Waligwa, an actress who appeared in the 2016 Disney film "Queen of Katwe," died Saturday at the age of 15. Waligwa died of a brain tumor, according to her school.
“Queen of Katwe” followed the rise of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi as a chess player amid grinding poverty in the Kampala slum of Katwe. Phiona's friend Gloria, played by Waligwa, memorably quips that in the game of chess “the small one can become the big one.”
"Fare thee well Nikita Pearl Waligwa. You were a darling to many and we have lost you to brain tumor at such a tender age," read a tweet from Waligwa's school, Gayaza High School. "Rest in Perfect Peace dear."
Waligra's "Queen of Katwe" co-star, Lupita Nyong'o, posted condolences on Instagram.
"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," Nyong'o wrote.
Fellow co-star David Oyelowo called Waligra's battle with the tumor humbling.
She was a ball of light in @queenofkatwemovie and in life," Oyelowo wrote on Instagram. "Her light will live on."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.