One Direction have confirmed that Zayn Malik has left the band, an announcement that’s sure to break the hearts of millions of teenagers around the world.

Zayn explained that reason he was leaving was to “have some private time out of the spotlight” and be a “normal 22 year old”. The Bradford-born star posted on the group’s official Facebook page on Wednesday that’s he’s parting ways with 1D after nearly five years. “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined,” he said in the post.

A five-piece no more: Zayn Malik (2nd L) quits One Direction

“But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I'd like to apologize to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart.” Despite his decision, he said “I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”

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Fears of this decision were originally stoked last week when it was revealed that Zayn had been “signed off” from the group’s On The Road Again tour. At the time, his representative said that he had been suffering from stress and needed time at home in Britain to recover.

The remaining members of the group, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson, gave their own reaction to Zayn’s departure, saying “sad to see Zayn go ... we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future.”

However, they also resolved to meet their existing obligations and look forward to the future as a foursome. “The four of us will now continue. We're looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour.”

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