The group published a statement on their official Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon confirming that Zayn had quit the group, five years after being formed on ‘The X Factor’.
He said: “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 apologise 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.
“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.”
1D have also released a statement, confirming that they will be continue without Zayn as a four-piece.
They said: “We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. 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.”
Last week, Zayn dropped out of the Asian leg of the group’s ‘On The Road Again’ world tour, after being signed off with “stress”.
Following this, rumours began circulating that he was bowing out of the group, with a source telling the Daily Star earlier this week: “At the moment he’s convinced he wants out. He is finding it all too much and wants to quit the group.”