R.E.M. announced their breakup on Wednesday afternoon, after more than three decades of music.
The Georgia-based band, made up of Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills, confirmed the news on the official R.E.M. Web site.
As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening, the band wrote.
The band's expansive library of 15 albums has included Murmur (1983), Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992).
News of R.E.M.'s split comes just six months after the release of their last album, Collapse into Now. Despite mostly positive reviews and music videos directed by talents that include James Franco and Sam Taylor-Wood, Collapse into Now has failed to crack any major music charts in the U.S. since its March release.
I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way, Stipe wrote on the band's Web site.
Here is a tribute to the very best of R.E.M., in music video form: