The Club Is Alive - but the band is no more... JLS shock fans by announcing they will split after farewell tour


Chart-topping boy band JLS have shocked fans by announcing they are to split after a string of hits and said: "It has been the most incredible journey."

The group, whose hits include "Everybody In Love" and "The Club Is Alive", said they had been agonising over the decision for months.

The quartet, which found fame on X Factor after featuring in the 2008 series, will give a farewell tour in December and said they wanted to "end on a high".

The foursome - Aston Merrygold, 25, Marvin Humes, 28, Jonathan "JB" Gill and Oritse Williams, both 26 - had fulfilled their initial recording deal, but did not want to sign a further contract committing them to several more albums.

Their success has led to several spin-offs with the group launching their own range of condoms and Merrygold has taken a judging role on Sky's Got To Dance series. Gill has developed an interest in farming and recently featured on the BBC's Countryfile as he learned more about agriculture.

After their run of five number one hits and two Brit awards, they announced their exit with a statement to fans which said: "We wanted to make sure that you heard it from the four of us, that we have decided to bring our time as a band to an end.

"It has been the most incredible journey over the last six years and we have achieved more things than we could have ever dreamed possible.

"Thanks to all of you guys, your support, your dedication and your love, you have changed our lives forever and we wouldn't be where we are today without you.

"Goodbye: The Greatest Hits Tour will be the last time that we will perform together as a four and we want to make sure that this tour is the best ever and that we end on a high!

"We will always remain brothers and friends and we will always be your boys."

They will also release a best-of album to coincide with the finale shows.

JLS - which stands for Jack the Lad Swing - finished second to Alexandra Burke on The X Factor, but nevertheless picked up a record deal.

The group also set up their own charitable foundation and have pledged to continue with this work, despite going their separate ways.

In an interview with The Sun today, Merrygold said: "We are still the best of friends and always will be - but this is the end."

Humes added: "It's an emotional time. There's no getting away from that. We have been through so much together.

"But we have to be mature and look at this decision as a celebration of what we managed to achieve.

"We never wanted to overstay our welcome. We never wanted to be that band where people said, 'Oh bloody hell. It's JLS again'.

During their career JLS have sold more than 10 million records, had five number one singles and won two Brit awards in 2010, as well as five Mobo Awards.

One Direction's Louis Tomlinson was among those who aired their sadness this morning.

In a message on Twitter, he said: "Sad to hear about JLS . Wish them all the best of luck in what they go on to do."

TV presenter Mark Wright suggested he was on the verge of tears after hearing about the group's demise: "Not gonna lie, my eyes watered a little bit reading that JLS are splitting. Sad article. Congrats to all your success boys."

Comedian Jack Whitehall joked: "Tonight I will wear my JLS condom at half mast."

Comic Dara O'Briain also made a crack about their contraceptive line: "JLS at their peak had a range of branded condoms. JLS have now split. Using these sentences, create a joke."

And not everyone was upset by the news. Blur's Graham Coxon said: "JLS no more? Wonderful news - i shall writhe today in ecstatic glee. 1D and Bieber to go, but they seem to be doing a good job themselves."