SOURCE: Syndicated from Zap2it
Zayn Malik is leaving One Direction. The singer says he is quitting so he can "be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight."
"My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined," says Malik in a statement posted to Facebook. "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 in my heart."
Simon Cowell -- who signed the band to his record label after they finished in third place on the U.K.'s "X Factor" in 2010 -- says he's sorry to see Malik leave.
Even though the remaining One Direction members say the band will continue as a four-piece and that they are still set to release their fifth album later this year, fans aren't handling the news all that well.
My reaction when I found out Zayn left One Direction. https://t.co/RRxMkxk124
— i love you zayn (@mermaidxhes) March 25, 2015
ZAYN CANT JUST BOOM AND LEAVE THE BAND. THEY GOTTA DO THE LAST EVER ONE DIRECTION CONCERT. THEY CANT LEAVE IT ALL LIKE THIS.
— maria ., (@17blackstyIes) March 25, 2015
ZAYN LEFT ONE DIRECTION WHY WTF WHY MY ANGEL WHY WOULD YOU
— siena (@sienaxmirabella) March 25, 2015
zayn leaving one direction got me like pic.twitter.com/09aQjoVxIK
— Common Girl (@FIirtationship) March 25, 2015
Zayn left One Direction!? I can't even!!! I CAN'T EVEN! Who can even? Not me. Can't even.
— CARTE NOIRE. (@ShaiArctic) March 25, 2015