1D's Zayn Malik departs international supergroup

Zayn Malik of One Direction.
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Zayn Malik of One Direction.

Zayn Malik is headed in a different direction.

The band confirmed the departure of the One Direction singer on Wednesday via their Facebook page. Fans of the international sensation are devastated.

Malik, who initially announced he would be taking a brief hiatus from touring, released a statement citing a desire to be "a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight."

"I dont see this as having a huge impact on their current album sales," says Joe Levy, Billboard's Editor at Large. "A group of this nature tends to sell a lot of albums right away when they release a record. Those fans have already bought this record."

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One Direction's 2014 album "Midnight Memories" sold 387,000 copies in its first week of sales, according to Billboard. Its previous record sold 546,000 copies in the same time period.

"It's really tough to pin the whole thing on one person. Zayn leaving is definitely not Lennon or McCartney leaving the Beatles. It's a little closer to George leaving the Beatles," he added.

The band has released four albums in four years, produced two concert films, and have had a non-stop touring schedule since 2010.

Simon Cowell, who formed the group on The X Factor, also issued a statement. "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."

The band will continue to tour as a quartet and record their fifth album, due for release later this year.