On March 25, One Direction shocked fans by announced that Zayn Malik was officially leaving the incredibly successful boy band.

Zayn Malik Quits One Direction after Five Years

has quit , the band have confirmed in a statement.

The 22-year-old singer has made the decision to bow out of the chart-topping boyband, leaving Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson to continue as a four-piece.

“We’re really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future,” the band said in a statement.

“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.”

Malik said that his time with One Direction “has been more than I could ever have imagined.”

“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.”

Last week, Malik walked away from the band’s world tour last week after being signed off with stress.

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

A photo had earlier emerged of him holding another woman around the waist.

A second photo, taken from behind, showed Malik standing close to the woman. Their hands and arms looked as though they were linked.

Zayn’s had a tumultuous time with the band since they were formed back in 2010. He almost quit the band during bootcamp.

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