Will One Direction Replace Zayn Malik? The Future Of the Boy Band Is Up In The Air

Fans of the most well-known British boy band of our time received their biggest shake-up yet Wednesday when Zayn Malik officially quit One Direction. This came after Malik left the band's latest tour citing stress, and with his departure comes inevitable questions over what the future holds for the band. "Is this the end of One Direction?" is a question that will undoubtedly be thrown around in the wake of this news. So, too, are questions of if, instead of disbanding, the group will replace Malik — or perhaps go on with the remaining four band members.

Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan are now the remaining members of One Direction. What this mean for all of them, as well as for Malik? According to a statement attributed to Malik on the official One Direction Facebook page, he left the group to live the life of "a normal 22-year-old," something that obviously isn't possible when you're at the center of one of the world's most fanned-over bands and constantly touring. As that statement reads:

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.

The statement (which includes a line saying the remaining boys "will continue as a four-piece") indicates that there is no intention at this point for the group to disband or replace Malik. That indication is tripled-up by the rest of One Direction's statement in the same post:

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.

The wisdom of boy band history would grant us the assumption that the band will not continue on forever (save some sort of Backstreet Boys reunion situation), but for now it seems they'll be soldiering on for a little longer without one of their founding members.