Simon Cowell, one of the X Factor judges who helped put together boyband One Direction, has said he is "truly sorry" to see bandmate Zayn Malik leave.
In a statement posted on the band's official Facebook page Cowell wrote:
"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. 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."
Zayn Malik has said that after five years in the spotlight it is "the right time" for him to leave boyband One Direction and commented in a Facebook post that he has "to do what feels right."
The 22-year-old's comments were posted on Facebook this afternoon as part of an official statement released by the band to confirm his departure.
"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."
Bradford-born singer Zayn Malik has left One Direction. Fans of the band have been tweeting their reaction.
@zaynmalik im not gunna say I won't miss you but im glad that you're putting yourself first. :) it's not gunna be the same without you.
One Direction have posted a statement on their official Facebook page today, confirming the departure of band mate Zayn Malik.
The statement said that "after five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave" but that the other four members would continue as a band without him.
"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."
Zayn Malik has left One Direction, according to a statement released by the band today.
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