Zayn Malik Is Leaving One Direction, British Boy Band Announces

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Left to right, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan of One Direction perform onstage at the 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Nov. 23, 2014. (Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

That sound you just heard was the crash of hearts breaking all over the world.

Zayn Malik is leaving One Direction.

“After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction,” the band said on its Facebook page and tweeted out to its 22.9 million Twitter followers.

“Niall, Harry, Liam and Louis will continue as a four-piece and look forward to the forthcoming concerts of their world tour and recording their fifth album, due to be released later this year.”

Rumors about such a move had started since Malik left the band’s tour last week. At the time, a rep told Rolling Stone he had “been signed off with stress” after a scandal erupted following the publication of a photo showing Malik holding hands with someone other than his fiancee.

Twitter immediately responded with a mix of sadness and snark.

The band’s Wikipedia page was also quickly updated with a sentence, “Zayn Malik was formerly a member.”

Malik, 22, has been part of the very popular British boy band since it was formed (at the urging of Simon Cowell, according to some stories) in 2010 after members auditioned separately for the UK version of “The X Factor.” The group has put out four albums, and its hits include “Best Song Ever” and “Story of My Life.”

The group’s latest album, “Four,” came out in November.