Zayn Malik performs with One Direction on NBC's "Today" show in New York in 2012. Malik announced Wednesday he's leaving the band. Reuters

One Direction singer Zayn Malik announced Wednesday he would be leaving the hit English pop band "to do what feels right" in his heart. "My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined," the 22-year-old said in a statement. "But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band."

Malik had been an integral part of One Direction, the group formed by talent scout Simon Cowell on "The X Factor" in 2010. Malik joined four other men -- Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson -- and, together, they became an international sensation with a passionate teen following.

In his statement Wednesday, Malik apologized to any fans who felt let down by his decision. One Direction is in the middle of a world tour and is recording a fifth studio album. "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," he said. "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."

Fans will be sad to see Malik go, but they can remember him with these quotes, compiled from Goodreads and his Twitter profile:

Malik performs on NBC's "Today" show in New York in March 2012. Reuters
Members of boy band One Direction, including Malik (second from right), attend the Royal Variety Performance in support of the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund in London last year. Reuters
Singers Malik, Styles and Louis Tomlinson perform on "Good Morning America" in 2013. Reuters
Malik and Tomlinson of One Direction appear on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Center in New York in 2013. Reuters

"I'm not one to get involved with what anyone says about me."

“No matter how many times people try to criticize you, the best revenge is to prove them wrong.”

“If people talk behind your back, it's because you're ahead of them.”

“Just close your eyes and enjoy the rollercoaster that is life."

"When people are putting pressure on me I just completely ignore it."

“Just because your prince hasn't come doesn't mean you're not a princess.”

“Life isn’t a music player where you choose whats being played, it is a radio where you have to enjoy whats being played.”

“There comes a day when you realise turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realise there's so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.”