Zayn Malik has officially left One Direction, the band have confirmed.
"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 apologise to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right."
The news comes shortly after pictures emerged showing Zayn with a blonde woman in Thailand. The photos ignited a storm of cheating rumours about the singer, who has been engaged to Perrie Edwards since 2013.
After the pictures leaked, Zayn abruptly left the band's current tour to fly back to the UK, having been officially "signed off with stress".
"We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future," the rest of 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."
Mentor Simon Cowell, who originally helped the boys find fame on The X Factor, also had kind words for Zayn.
"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," he said.
The shocking departure has hit the band's devoted fans hard, with many taking to Twitter to share their reactions to the unexpected news.
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