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Maria Puente, USA TODAY 1:08 p.m. EDT March 25, 2015
Last week, Zayn Malik quit One Direction\'s current world tour. On Wednesday, the band announced he quit the band.
"After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction," the band\'s Facebook page says. "Niall, Harry, Liam and Louis will continue as a four-piece and look forward to the forthcoming concerts of their world tour and recording their fifth album, due to be released later this year."
"My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I\'d like to apologise to the fans if I\'ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart.
"I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. 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."
Immediately, the "Oh, no!" tweets began piling up.
@MTVUK@zaynmalik IVE BEEN THRU ALOT AND THE BOYS MADE MY LIFE BECOME A HAPPIER PLACE PLEASE DONT LEAVE US ZAYN I BEG YOU #zaynpain
— ZAYN DONT LEAVE US (@radicalIharry) March 25, 2015
The band members\' statement said they were "really sad" to Malik go.
"But we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future," the statement said. "The past five years have been beyond amazing, we\'ve gone through so much together, so we will always be friends."
But the band will go on with the remaining four. "We\'re looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour."
Simon Cowell also weighed in, saying he was proud of Malik.
"I would like to say thank you to Zayn for everything he has done for One Direction. Since I first met Zayn in 2010, I have grown very, very fond — and immensely proud — of him," his statement said. "I have seen him grow in confidence and I am truly sorry to see him leave.
"As for One Direction, fans can rest assured that Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band."
Last week, fans were bereft at the news that Malik had returned home "to recuperate" from the band\'s world tour.
These One Direction fans are FREAKING OUT over Zayn's departure
Fresh on the scene, the guys attend the Kids Choice Awards \'way\' back in 2012.
Surf\'s up! The boy band accepts their honorary surfboard at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards.
Aw! Zayn Malik brought mom Tricia to the premiere of \'One Direction: This Is Us 3D\' in 2013.
When in Brooklyn...the guys pose with Lady Gaga backstage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.
Everyone\'s got their favorite 1D guys. For these fans, it\'s Zayn.
These guys travel a lot. Here\'s a shot of Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik in Tokyo in 2013.
The guys perform onstage during the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.
(Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images for Clear Channel)
You know you\'ve made it when...One Direction prepared to meet the royals at a charity performance in London last year.
Not even Harry Styles (who inspired T-Swift\'s song, \'Style\') was too cool for a moment meeting Duchess Kate.
They\'re kid-friendly! Last year the boys hit \'Sesame Street\' to show what \'makes U Useful.\'
One Direction took their \'On the Road Again\' tour to Sydney in February.
They clean up pretty well, no? The guys looked dapper in Cannes last December.
On March 19, Zayn Malik announced he was leaving the One Direction tour due to stress.
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