After days of speculation, One Direction's Zayn Malik has finally confirmed that he was parting ways with the band.
The 22-year-old announced the news through the band's official Facebook page, saying he wanted some time away from 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. 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," he said.
A source close to the singer added that Malik was having trouble dealing with all the attention that fame has brought him ever since being a part of the British boyband that was formed by Simon Cowell in 2010. "He has a problem with the fame—he doesn't handle the attention very well, and every so often he has a little wobble," the source told E!Online.
Rest of his bandmates -- Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson — will continue as a quartet and they will record their fifth album without Malik. They will also continue their ongoing world tour.
News of Malik's decision to quit 1D comes just a few days after he was accused of cheating on his fiancée Perrie Edwards. Although Malik denied the rumours, the intense scrutiny by the world media is said to have taken a toll on him.
Understandably, 1D fans are disappointed, and they have been expressing their feelings with sad memes.
Here are a few gems from Twitter.
Zayn Malik took the name of the album 'FOUR' way too seriously.
— Shady Music Facts (@musicnews_shade) March 25, 2015
— *☁️ʚɞ˳VᎯηEssα☁️ʚɞ (@Iamheartyvan16) March 26, 2015
— Jessica (@TheJessicats) March 26, 2015