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Zayn Malik Quits Boy Band One Direction: ‘I Want to Be a Normal 22 Year Old’

The four remaining members of the band will carry on without Malik

One Direction member Zayn Malik has decided to quit the chart-topping boy band.

According to a Facebook post published Wednesday morning, remaining members Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson will carry on as 1D, and “look forward to the forthcoming concerts of their world tour.”

“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,” Malik said in a statement. “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,” the singer continued. “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.”

As for the band that formed after auditioning as solo artists for Simon Cowell‘s UK reality competition series “The X Factor,” they “respect” Malik’s decision.

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

Fans of the band behind hits like “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Live While We’re Young” and “Story of My Life” may not be all that surprised by Malik’s departure.

Just last week his publicist announced he was leaving their tour through the Philippines and Indonesia due to “stress.”

“Zayn has been signed off with stress and is flying back to the UK to recuperate,” the statement read.

Cowell, who manages One Direction, thanked Malik for his five years of service with the band.

“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,” Cowell 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.”