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One Direction 'gutted' over Zayn Malik's departure

By
Karen Butler
(L-R) Singers Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles, of One Direction, winners of Artist of the Year, Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group and Favorite Pop/Rock Album, pose backstage at the 42nd annual American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Nov. 23, 2014. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
(L-R) Singers Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles, of One Direction, winners of Artist of the Year, Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group and Favorite Pop/Rock Album, pose backstage at the 42nd annual American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Nov. 23, 2014. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LONDON, April 4 (UPI) -- The remaining members of One Direction are "gutted" that Zayn Malik opted to leave the British pop music group mid-tour, but they remain committed to performing together.

"We're gutted Zayn chose to leave," bandmate Liam Payne told The Sun newspaper. "But now after a few performances as a four-piece, we feel confident and determined to carry on stronger than ever."

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"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," Malik said as he announced his exit last month. "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."

The group said at the time: "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."

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