AUSTIN (KXAN) - The cancer-fighting charity Livestrong was not surprised by Wednesday's news that its founder, cyclist Lance Armstrong, resigned as chairman amid mounting evidence of a doping scandal.
"Issues from the cycling world have been in the news for many years," said foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane. "This is not a new climate for the foundation. These are questions that we've had to address throughout the years, and still throughout those years, we've seen an increase in people joining our mission, donating to our mission, and giving more money to it, in fact."
McLane said Armstrong was weighing the decision for several days prior to the announcement. Co-founder Jeff Garvey will replace him immediately as the foundation's chairman.
In a statement, Armstrong said: "I have had the great honor of serving as this foundation's chairman for the last five years are its mission and success are my top priorities. Therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship."
Armstrong built Livestrong, also known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, after his battle with testicular cancer in 1997. The charity has raised nearly $500 million for cancer awareness and helped 2.5 million people fight the disease.
Nike, however, canceled its endorsement deal with Armstrong, saying in a statement:
"Due to 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."
RadioShack, Armstrong's sponsor in his most recent cycling events, also severed its ties.
The Austin cycling community is split in its loyalties to the one-time Tour de France champion.
"There's one group of cyclists that definitely dislike the guy," said cyclist Adam Stroobantz. "Then there's another group that have more or less forgiven him for his past deeds. I mean, it's Republican and Democrat. .. You're not going to sway either one of them."
Armstrong is scheduled to appear at a Livestrong fundraiser Friday night as part of the charity's 15-year anniversary celebration. The Livestrong Challenge is Sunday with about 4,300 cyclists signed up to participate.
One woman died early Wednesday after several shots were fired at a North Austin mechanic shop.
The Texas Department of Public Safety along with the U.S. Drug Enforcement agency and local authorities raided what they said Wednesday was a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
UPDATE // The two teenage girls missing since Saturday night were found safe at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Leander police said.
FEMA teams will be back in Southeast Austin to assess damage to public property like roads, bridges, and parks.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, a 2014 Democratic candidate for Texas governor, released her tax returns for the past three years.
A 13-year-old girl was kidnapped from Flatonia School and released about an hour later on Monday, but authorities are still looking for the kidnapper.