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Zayn Malik Has Quit One Direction

The band will continue as a four-piece.

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The singer revealed the sad news via Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday.

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One Direction Statement: After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction. Niall, (cont) http://t.co/2SA4PzPd82

Malik, who has been in the band since they formed on UK's The X Factor in 2010, revealed that he feels it's "the right time" for him to leave his bandmates.

He has apologised to his fans for the decision, and admitted it was because he wants to "be a normal 22-year-old":

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.

The announcement comes just a few days after Zayn quit the One Direction tour, citing "stress".

Last week, the singer left his bandmates, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan, in Asia and flew home to recuperate.

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1D statement: Zayn has been signed off with stress and is flying back to the UK to recuperate. The band wish (cont) http://t.co/sqvOnQodYy

He left the tour just a day after photos emerged of him with his arm around a woman while partying in Thailand.

I'm 22 years old... I love a girl named Perrie Edwards. And there's a lot of jealous fucks in this world I'm sorry for what it looks like x

Styles, Payne, Tomlinson and Horan have all wished him the best and insisted they will "always be friends."

We totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing, we've gone through so much together, so we will always be friends.

He said:

Since I first met Zayn in 2010, I have grown very, very fond – and immensely proud – of him. 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.

The band's full statement is as follows:

One Direction Statement: After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction. 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.

Zayn says: "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."

One Direction say: "We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing, we've gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. 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."

Simon Cowell says: "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. 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."

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