Former child star Jack Wild has lost his battle with mouth cancer at the age of 53. Wild was most famous for playing THE ARTFUL DODGER in 1968 film OLIVER!, which earned him an Oscar nomination at the age of 16. He also starred in a number of TV and minor movie roles as an adult, even after cancer forced him to have his voice box and tongue removed. The actor's agent says he "died peacefully at midnight last night after a long battle with oral cancer". Wild said recently of his illness, "Until I was diagnosed with mouth cancer, I'd never heard of it. "What I learned very quickly was that my lifestyle had made me a walking time bomb. "I was a heavy smoker and an even heavier drinker and apparently together they are a deadly mixture." He leaves behind wife CLAIRE HARDING.