Zayn Malik is leaving boy band One Direction

Zayn Malik, one of the five members of insanely popular boy band One Direction, has decided to leave the group.

The following was posted to the band’s Facebook page regarding the news:

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.

Malik, 22, also released a statement posted to Facebook:

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.

Malik made headlines last week when he inexplicably left the tour, leaving the rumour mill to go wild as to what sparked his sudden absence. Some said it was caused by the a photo of him with another woman (not his fiance, Perrie Edwards) making its way into the media.

The remaining members of the band (Louis, Liam, Harry, and Niall) had this to 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.”

NOW WATCH: This Sports Illustrated swimsuit rookie could become the next Kate Upton

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.