They said they would continue as a four-piece for their world tour and record another album - their fifth - later this year.
Malik 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.”
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