Pop sensation leaves the band stating he wants to “feel like a normal 22-year-old”

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When One Direction became one man down on its “On the Road Again” world tour earlier this week, the boy band’s publicist insisted that Zayn Malik was taking time out due to stress.

However, in a statement on One Direction’s Facebook page, the 22-year-old Bradford-lad has confirmed that he is quitting the band.

Zayn says: “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.

Now the remaining band members – Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, will continue on their current tour of Manila, Philippines, Jakarta, Indonesia and South Africa as a foursome and will release their fifth album later this year.

Malik’s departure comes days after he hit back on Twitter at rumours of trouble in his relationship with fiancee Perrie Edwards of the band Little Mix after he was photographed partying with another woman in Pukhet, Thailand.

Zayn who has been battling to shrug off the cheating accusations tweeted: “I’m 22 years old … I love a girl named Perrie Edwards… And there’s a lot of jealous f***s in this world, I’m sorry for what this looks like”. Other than that, Zayn has been completely quiet on Twitter.

But Zayn’s woe’s are nothing new.

Last year a video circulated online appearing to show Malik and fellow band member Louis Tomlinson smoking cannabis and joking about drug use. This led the Philippines to impose a $5,000 “weed bond” on Malik and Tomlinson, with the money to be forfeited if either of them was caught using or promoting illegal drugs while in the country for the current  tour.

The news of Zayn cutting his ties with 1D has left millions of fans heartbroken.

Disappointed fans are demanding that tickets should be discounted with Zayn now missing from the “On the Road Again” world tour.

One Direction’s biggest hits include “Best Song Ever”, “Kiss You”, “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Story of My Life”.

“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 band members said.

Simon Cowell, the British music and television impresario who launched the band, said: “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.”

British Group One Direction perform in concert in Murrayfield stadium, Edinburgh, on June 3rd , 2014Band members Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson

Zayn Malik also known as Zain Javadd Malik, was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, and grew up in East Bowling, is a British musician who has a net worth of $23 million. He graduated from Tong High School. He auditioned for “The X Factor” in 2010 and was not chosen to advance as a solo artist, but he was paired with four other musicians to form the boy band, One Direction. One Direction has gone on to become one of the most popular bands to come out of the UK in decades. To date, they have sold 19 million singles and 10 million albums.