One Direction‘s Zayn Malik, who recently took a hiatus from touring after pictures emerged of him with a girl who wasn’t his fiancée Perrie Edwards, has quit the British boyband. With Malik out of the band, One Direction will continue with Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson.

Zayn Malik Quits 1D

“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,” read a statement on the band’s Facebook page Wednesday.

Styles, Payne, Horan and Tomlinson, who were grouped together with Malik by Simon Cowell on the UK X-Factor, are sorry to see their bandmate go, but promise fans that One Direction isn’t going anywhere.

“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 young men said. “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.”

As for Cowell, he had nothing but kind words for Malik – and like the rest of the band – reassured fans that One Direction will have a new album and more shows for them to enjoy despite Malik’s departure.

“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,” the music producer 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.”

Malik, who reportedly has struggled to cope with One Direction’s meteoric rise to fame and the accompanying scrutiny on his life outside of the band, issued a parting statement. In it, the 22-year-old expressed his desire to live a normal life outside of the spotlight.

“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,” he said. “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. 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.”

Read more about: