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Directioners in despair over Zayn Malik's departure

Social media went into overdrive as tearful Directioners digested the news of Zayn Malik's departure.

1D Updates (@1dwwgossipgirls) wrote: "I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO OR SAY IM SHAKING AND CRYING AND I DONT WANT THIS TO BE REAL".

Courtney Boerner (@CourtneyBoerner) tweeted: "You know your life is pathetic when you start crying over a member of One Direction leaving the band....IM SO SAD".

But some Twitter users were more positive about the announcement.

Jaclyn Forbes (@jaclynforbes) wrote: "@zaynmalik im not gunna say I won't miss you but im glad that you're putting yourself first. :) it's not gunna be the same without you".

Meanwhile, some reacted to the news with hope that they might be able to fill Zayn's place in the line-up.

Frankie Cocozza (@FrankieCocozza), who was a contestant on The X Factor in 2011, wrote: "Dear @SimonCowell Now Zayn has gone, how about a call up?"

Within 45 minutes of the announcement, One Direction's official statement on Twitter had been re-tweeted 57,000 times and favourited 50,000 times. On Facebook the statement received more than 100,000 likes and 48,000 comments.

Almost an hour after the announcement, the news was still dominating social media.

More than 4,600 tweets per minute were talking about Malik, with more than 75% of those tweets from women, according to Twitter's own tracking tools.

Worldwide, the hashtags #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik and #PleaseZaynBackForUs were trending among Twitter users.

Despite Malik's departure, One Direction's fan base continued to swell on Twitter and Facebook, adding approximately a thousand new followers and fans every two minutes since the announcement.

The departure of Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear just before Malik's exit led some to connect the two.

Comedian Dom Joly tweeted: "*BREAKING NEWS* Clarkson to replace Zayn Malik in One Direction "It'll take some training but we are determined to make it work"."

And the Department for Work and Pensions offered its services, Tweeting: "Hi @zaynmalik, heard your news. Around 735,000 vacancies available at any time."

Celebrities started reacting on Twitter to the news of Zayn's departure.

Aston Merrygold, who was a singer in the band JLS, tweeted: "Respect @zaynmalik making this hard decision! Be happy man! Massive good luck to u & the rest of @onedirection stay strong and keep grafting."

Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter: "Zayn Malik has left One Direction. Life will never be quite the same again."

Matt Cardle, a singer who won the X Factor, said: "Hope you're all good brother. Thinking of ya."

Josh Cuthbert, a singer in Union J, wrote: "Sad to hear about Zayn leaving 1D. Cool fella with a wicked voice. Wish him the best of luck".

YouTube personality Zoella tweeted: "WAIT WHAT?? Am I hearing this correctly? Zayn has quit One Direction?"

More celebrities have sent best wishes to Malik after his announcement.

Gary Barlow wrote: "Sending my best to all the 1D boys ! #thatters we've all been there haven't we ? !!!!!"

McBusted star Harry Judd tweeted: "Bum out news for 1D fans Sad to see Zayn go but you gotta do what you gotta do. Brave decision".

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid also spoke of the anguish his own family experienced at the news, tweeting: "Got home & daughters distraught @zaynmalik left 1D. I'm an admirer too. Would have been a difficult decision. Wish him & 1D all the best".

PA Media