Livestrong, set up in 1997, says it will continue work to fight cancer despite end of commercial partnership.
Nike splits with foundation set up by Lance Armstrong
Nike has ended its commercial partnership with the Livestrong Foundation set up by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
The American sportswear company, which produced Livestrong's yellow wristbands among a wide range of other merchandise, will cease to work with the cancer charity beyond its next collection of products.
A Nike statement read: "Nike has made the decision to stop producing new Livestrong products after its Holiday 2013 line. We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation by funding them directly as they continue their work serving and improving outcomes for people facing cancer.
"We are proud of the collective efforts between Nike and the Livestrong Foundation to raise more than 100million US dollars to help people with cancer, distributing 87million Livestrong wristbands and serving and improving health outcomes for more than 2.5million people with free cancer support services, programs, tools and resources."
Livestrong responded with a statement on its website which began: "The Livestrong Foundation is deeply grateful to Nike not only for the time and resources it invested in helping us improve the lives of people affected by cancer today, but also the creative drive it brought to our nine-year partnership."
Armstrong founded the charity in 1997 following his own battle with cancer.
The Texan returned to the sport and finished first in the Tour de France seven years in succession from 1999 to 2005, though he was last year stripped of all his titles after being found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs.
He quickly lost a string of personal sponsorship deals and stood down from the foundation's board in November.
Despite this latest development, though, Livestrong insists it remains in good health.
Its statement continued: "This news will prompt some to jump to negative conclusions about the foundation's future. We see things quite differently.
"We expected and planned for changes like this and are therefore in a good position to adjust swiftly and move forward with our patient-focused work.
"Because of our sound fiscal health, the foundation is well-positioned to continue to grow our free services for cancer patients and survivors that improve quality of life and access to care. Because of our excellent governance and quality of service, the foundation remains one of the most highly-rated and effective [non-profit organisations] in the United States.
"Because 14 million Americans face the daily challenges of living with cancer, our mission has never been more critical and for some, it will mean the difference between life and death.
"We are always eager to partner with organisations that are genuinely committed to our mission. Constant innovation and relentless determination on behalf of people facing cancer today are what drive us and we take that spirit to heart during this time of change for our organisation."
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