"I'm super sure us and Zayn [Malik] will remain the closest friends," said Payne on Twitter
Following the announcement of Zayn Malik‘s departure from the band on Wednesday, each of the members of One Direction spoke out on Twitter to express their love for their fans without directly addressing what had happened.
“In light of recent events I think this is important to say,” he Tweeted. “For the past five years now I’ve been a part of something so special I don’t think any of us really understand, something that can mean the world to people and put a smile on the face of our fans even in the darkest times.
“To a lot of people it’s just a bunch of silly kids in a band but to the people involved it means so much more,” he continued, writing that this past week has been “possibly the worst” ever for the band. “It’s something we are all deeply saddened by.
“It’s sad to think for the time being we won’t grace the stage as five bros or have the same fun on a tour bus or laughs in a hotel together that we have over the years,” read Payne’s Twitlonger, “but I’m super sure us and Zayn will always remain the closest friends.”
Payne, 21, went on to assure fans that One Direction is “far from over. When we first became successful we all agreed that One Direction had become much bigger than each individual member,” he said. “That’s why I feel like right now it’s okay to be sad and upset but I do ask everyone who is a fan of us to please keep your faith in us. I’m sure there’s a lot more to come,” he finished, signing off with “love.”
Payne’s first response had been to Tweet how glad he was to be in bed “after a long and strange 24 hours.”
Louis Tomlinson, 23, who was closest to Malik and “the most worried,” as a source previously revealed to PEOPLE, Tweeted, like Payne, that the last couple of days had been “crazy,” adding, “Know that we are going to work harder than ever to deliver the best album we’ve ever made for you guys! Your support has been incredible,” he wrote. “Truly incredible, so thank you so much!”
For his part, 21-year-old Niall Horan‘s Tweets echoed those of his bandmates, writing that the past few days had been “mad” but that the fans’ support has been “incredible as per usual,” which has spurred the band into making “the best music we possibly can.”
Payne wrote his emotional missive after trying to lighten the mood, as he did following the news that Malik had decided to leave the tour. “Right, time to brighten things up. Here’s a throwback to one of my many embarrassing moments,” he Tweeted Thursday. “Great shorts, pal!”
“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 wrote in a statement on his decision to leave. “I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall,” he said. “I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”