Lance Armstrong, who became a hero to millions after winning seven straight Tour de France titles following his battle with cancer, will lose all of his Tour championships and be banned from cycling forever, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency made the announcement Thursday night after Armstrong declared he would be ending his fight against charges that he used performance enhancing drugs to help him win his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles.

Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the Anti-Doping Agency, said the announcement will come Friday that Armstrong will forever be banned from competitive cycling.

Armstrong decided not to use the arbitration process to fight allegations that have chased him for years. Arbitration was his last option to obtain his innocence.

He released this statement:

I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today -- finished with this nonsense."

Armstrong said he is releasing his statement not as an admission of guilt, but as a decision not to enter the arbitration process. The USADA, however, is treating it as a confession of guilt and reacted quickly to strip Armstrong of his crowning achievements.

"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and athletes," Tygart said. "It's a heartbreaking example of win at all costs overtaking the fair and safe option. There's no success in cheating to win."

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