By Simon Evans
Jan 17 (Reuters) - The cancer foundation set up by Lance Armstrong said they were 'disappointed' with the former cyclist's admission of doping but remained grateful to him for his work battling the disease.
Armstrong, who has already been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, told Oprah Winfrey in an interview broadcast worldwide on Thursday that he had used performance enhancing drugs in all of his wins.
"We at the Livestrong Foundation are disappointed by the news that Lance Armstrong misled people during and after his cycling career, including us," read the statement from the Austin, Texas based foundation.
Armstrong, a survivor of testicular cancer, stepped down as a Livestrong board member in November. The foundation, originally called the Lance Armstrong Foundation but known informally for years as Livestrong, formally dropped Armstrong's name from its title in October.
But the body drew back from a total rejection of Armstrong's activities praising his work for cancer sufferers.
"Even in the wake of our disappointment, we also express our gratitude to Lance as a survivor for the drive, devotion and spirit he brought to serving cancer patients and the entire cancer community," said Livestrong.
"Lance is no longer on the Foundation's board, but he is our founder and we will always be grateful to him for creating and helping to build a Foundation that has served millions struggling with cancer," the statement added.
The foundation advocates for cancer survivors and their families and provides free services to help people affected by cancer cope with financial, emotional and practical challenges. Armstrong founded the organization in 1997.
"Earlier this week, Lance apologized to our staff and we accepted his apology in order to move on and chart a strong, independent course. We look forward to devoting our full energy to our mission of helping people not only fight and survive cancer, but also thrive in life after cancer," added the organisation.
"The Livestrong Foundation is one of the most highly-rated and effective cancer organizations in the United States. Our success has never been based on one person - it's based on the patients and survivors we serve every day, who approach a cancer diagnosis with hope, courage and perseverance." (Reporting By Simon Evans in Miami, Editing by Ossian Shine)