Last week, One Direction‘s Zayn Malik walked away from the band’s world tour after being signed off with stress. A photo had earlier emerged of him holding another woman around the waist. A second photo, taken from behind, showed him standing close to the woman. Their hands and arms looked as though they were linked.

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He returned to the UK shortly after being forced to defend his relationship with his fiancee, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards.

Zayn Malik Phuket

News have now surfaced that the 22-year-old has quit One Direction, as confirmed by the band in an official statement on their Facebook page. As we speak, there’s undoubtedly a crashing sound of millions of hearts breaking all over the world. In fact, fans on Twitter immediately responded with teary Vine videos and the #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik hashtag.

Undoubtedly, this is the sad mark of an end of an era, of One Direction as a 5-member heartthrob pop boy band.

Upon the announcement, Zayn said:

My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after 5 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.

The band’s Wikipedia page has also been quickly updated with a sentence, “Zayn Malik was formerly a member.”

One Direction Zayn Malik

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In a statement, the rest of the group said:

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 5 years have been beyond amazing – we’ve gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. The 4 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.

Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson signed with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Records in 2010 after finishing third on “The X Factor”.  The group has put out 4 albums, and its hits include “Best Song Ever” and “Story of My Life”.

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The group’s latest album, “Four,” came out in November 2014.

Zayn Malik & Perrie Edwards
Zayn Malik & Perrie Edwards

One Direction will continue their world tour as a 4 piece and record a 5th album later this year.

Sources: One Direction WikipediaBBC, One Direction’s Facebook page.

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Lainey
Eats, sleeps, & breathes music, but drinks mostly coffee & okay, some wine - sometimes, a little too much. A little too obsessed with the number seven, is deathly afraid of horror movies, believes that she writes better than she speaks, & currently feeling a little strange writing a profile about herself.