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One Direction Promise To ‘Work Harder’ And Deliver The ‘Best Album’ After Zayn Malik Quits

It's been a 'strange 24 hours.'

Liam Payne said it best when he tweeted that it's been a "strange 24 hours."

The guys of One Direction -- and all of their devoted fans -- suffered quite a blow on Wednesday when Zayn Malik announced that he was leaving the group after five years to be a "normal 22-year-old."

Now the remaining members of the band -- Harry, Liam, Niall and Louis -- are speaking out on social media, just a day after they released a joint statement saying that all five would always "be friends." On Thursday (March 26), the group touched down in South Africa, smiling and greeting fans at the airport. They're in the country for the next three dates on their On The Road Again Tour.

Reaching out online, Niall and Louis also thanked fans for their "incredible" support during these "mad few days."

Zayn leaving the group may have been just as big a surprise to us as it was to his fellow boy-banders. One clue is a note that Louis signed for a fan at a recent concert saying, "Thanks for coming to the show yesterday! We will come back soon, don't worry with Zayn."

OMG cue the tears.

With Zayn's exit now confirmed, 1D will record their upcoming fifth album, due out this fall, as a foursome, and Louis promises to "deliver the best album we've ever made."

One Direction will be on the road for the next week before they take a two- month break. They pick up again in June for the European leg of the tour, where you'll see "nothing less" than the best from the guys.