Lance Armstrong stepping down as Livestrong chairman

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Cyclist Lance Armstrong is stepping down from his role as chairman of the cancer-awareness charity Livestrong, the organization said in a press release today. Separately, Nike announced it has dropped its long-time sponsorship of Armstrong.

The announcement comes a week after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released a damning report that placed Armstrong at the center of a sophisticated and brazen doping scheme that the agency said helped him win seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong has denied all those accusations, but said the turmoil surrounding him could hurt the foundation.

"This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart," Armstrong said in a statement. "Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship."

According to the foundation's website, since its inception they have raised more than $470 million "for the fight against cancer."

Armstrong said that Vice Chairman Jeff Garvey will take over his duties.

"My family and I have devoted our lives to the work of the foundation and that will not change," Armstrong, who survived testicular cancer, said. "We plan to continue our service to the foundation and the cancer community. We will remain active advocates for cancer survivors and engaged supporters of the fight against cancer. And we look forward to an exciting weekend of activities marking the 15th anniversary of the foundation's creation."

Update at 8:31 a.m. ET. Nike Drops Armstrong:

Just as this news was breaking, Nike added more bad news for Armstrong saying it was ending their sponsorship of the athlete.

"Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him," Nike said in a statement. "Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner."

Nike added that he would continue its support Livestrong.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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