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Monday 11 December 2017

Harry Styles breaks down in tears on stage over Zayn's departure

Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Harry Styles of One Direction as Malik has left the band said in a statement

Harry Styles appeared to break down in tears on stage as he struggled to come to terms with Zayn Malik's sudden departure from boyband One Direction.

Styles wiped away tears as the band performed the latest leg of their On The Road Again Tour in Jakarta, Indonesia, hours after the news broke.

Malik said he quit the world's biggest band as he wanted the chance to be "a normal 22-year-old".

He left the world tour last week after being "signed off with stress" and returned to the UK after he was forced to defend himself online and declare his love for fiancee Perrie Edwards when pictures emerged of him apparently close to another woman.

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The group said they would continue as a four-piece for the tour and record another album - their fifth - later this year.

Following the Jakarta concert, bandmate Liam Payne told his 19.7 million Twitter followers: "So glad to be in bed after a long and strange 24 hours."

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Styles sent a simple message to his 24.1 million Twitter followers: "All the love as always. H."

Pop svengali Simon Cowell, who discovered One Direction on talent show The X Factor, said he was sad to see Malik leave and was "immensely proud" of what he had achieved with the band.

He later tweeted his support for distraught fans, saying: "Sometimes strength is not defined by numbers."

He added: "As always you the fans have shown your amazing support to all the boys. When you have great talent great things happen."

Malik's statement yesterday rocked the pop world and led to a mass outpouring of grief from the band's young fans.

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."

In a statement, the rest of the group said they were sad to see him leave but their five years together had been "beyond amazing".

A spokesman for the band said Malik, who grew up in Bradford, is at home with his family and Edwards.

The news devastated millions of One Direction's fans around the world, and many took to social media to vent their feelings.

They were offered words of comfort from a veteran of boyband break-ups, Take That's Gary Barlow.

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Zayn Malik, as Harry Styles appeared to break down in tears on stage as he apparently struggled to come to terms with Zayn Malik's sudden departure from boyband One Direction

Barlow, who saw the disintegration of his own band in 1996 after Robbie Williams left, tweeted: "Sending my best to all the 1D boys ! #thatters we've all been there haven't we ? !!!!!"

Cowell's fellow X Factor judge Louis Walsh said he had heard rumours for a number of weeks that "everything wasn't happy in paradise".

He told Irish radio station RTE Radio One: "The problem with these guys is they've been in a bubble for the last five years, pressure, working, a lot harder than people think, so something had to give. So Zayn was the first person just to crack up a little bit."

Malik appeared in a leaked video last year smoking what appeared to be a joint while the group travelled in a van in South America.

He was also forced to explain his absence from promotional commitments after a US TV host questioned his bandmates about ''rumours of substance abuse''.

The band, who were put together after entering The X Factor as solo acts, have become millionaires on their way to being one of the biggest bands in the world.

Their latest album, Four, topped the US Billboard chart, making them the first group to debut at number one with their first four albums.

They have fans all over the world - their current tour takes in venues in countries including Indonesia and South Africa - and the video for their single, Best Song Ever, attracted almost 200 million views on YouTube.

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