Zayn Malik is leaving One Direction

Twitter promptly goes into meltdown

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Cue millions of jaws hitting the floor… Zayn Malik has announced that he’s leaving boyband One Direction.

The band announced the news in a statement, with Malik saying: ‘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.’

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The announcement, which has promptly sent social media into a meltdown, comes just a week after Malik left the band’s world tour after being signed off with stress.

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Despite vowing to continue as a four piece, the remaining four members of the band had messages of support for their former colleague, saying: ‘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.

They added: ‘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 added: ‘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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