One Direction (1D) are set to disband next spring, according to reports that will leave the band's fiercely devoted worldwide fan-base heartbroken.
Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan are set to part ways for at least a year from March 2016, and focus on their solo careers, The Sun has reported.
A source close to the boyband told the newspaper that after five years, the members "fully deserve to have at least a year to work on their own projects."
They went on to stress there is "absolutely no bad blood" between the 1D members.
But, ending with a statement that will give shocked fans some hope, the source stressed the break is "definitely not a split" and the band will return "at some time in the future.”
A spokesman for the band said: "We don't comment on speculation."
The band's social media accounts have remained silent on the matter, but posts on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday afternoon cryptically quoted a line from their 2014 song No Control.
"The pedal's down, my eyes are closed..." https://t.co/iplQnRyNwC— One Direction (@onedirection) August 23, 2015
As the band do not plan to tour their fifth album, the hiatus means that a concert at Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena on 31 October could be their last concert for an indefinite time.
However, fans may be able to see 1D on TV interviews and performance planned to take place before the end of the year, according to the newspaper.
After a break over the festive period, the band will regroup for two months to complete their promotional commitments for their record label in February, before parting ways in March, The Sun has said.
The reports come amid a turbulent year for 1D, after Zayne Malik suddenly left the band in March, saying he wanted to live like a "normal" 22-year-old.
1D: Crazy things Directioners say
1D: Crazy things Directioners say
1/20 One Direction
'I'm so jealous of everyone that meets One Direction. Then again if I met Harry I would hyperventilate, suffocate and die so...' - @m_a_g_z_i_e
2/20 One Direction
'If I ever received a tweet from anyone in One Direction I'd literally die on the spot and I want my obituary and tombstone to blame them.' - @aurosan
3/20 One Direction
'When I die, I want the One Direction 'Talk Dirty to Me' video displayed at my funeral, on a screen projected over my casket, playing non stop, thank you.' - @zaynlikespayne
4/20 One Direction
'I cannot speak I want to write the word 'love' everywhere and tell everyone I love One Direction more than anything ever.' - @sneezeharrys
5/20 One Direction
'I'm in the 'I'm gonna die alone with 8 cats and my posters of One Direction don't breath near me or I'll punch you' mood.' - @nouisteenagers
6/20 One Direction
'HARRY. YOU ARE NOT A GOD DAMN MAN WHORE. YOU ARE A CUPCAKE. JESUS.' - @daddyslittlelou
7/20 One Direction
When 1D were on the cover of GQ magazine: 'The GQ pictures make me want to stab myself in the uterus!' - @ziallsafari
8/20 One Direction
'I hope that I die before any of the boys in One Direction does cause I will not be able to even move if they go before I do.' - @pokeniall
9/20 One Direction
Another GQ response read: 'Holy. C**p. The boys on the cover of GQ magazine. Someone shoot me. Push me off a cliff. Stab me!' - @wafaastalks
10/20 One Direction
'Person: Why do you love One Direction? Me: Why do you breathe? Person: If I didn't I'd die. Me: Exactly.' - @idrugsharry
11/20 One Direction
'Don't hate on Louis you f**king a******s or I will shove bleach into your a******s and pull out your eyes with a spork.' - @fxkinlouis
12/20 One Direction
'When are you in public and a One Direction song comes on and your kidneys rupture and then you die.' - @harryhasbooty
13/20 One Direction
'If One Direction were falling off a cliff and I could only save one then I'd shoot myself so we could all die and meet in heaven' - @austinrahone
14/20 One Direction
''One Direction is goin' to be the next to break up'. If you don't shut up I will break your neck and pray for you to die.' - @bubblegumniall
15/20 One Direction
'My friend doesn't like One Direction and I told her that if she said something rude on Twitter she would die.' - @flashing1D
16/20 One Direction
'Do you ever feel like you want to scream and cry and laugh and smile and die because of One Direction. Because same.' - @chenloves1d
17/20 One Direction
'When Niall cuddles someone or something and his cheeks do the thing I die.' - @daintyiero
18/20 One Direction
'My parents always say 'They're gonna die down' and 'You'll grow out of them'. No f**k you I'm getting One Direction tattooed across my face.' - @calumshoran
19/20 One Direction
'Dear One Direction, you stole my heart but that's okay. I like my boys like I like my tea - hot and British with some Irish creme.' - @torii_rakusx
20/20 One Direction
'Imagine Niall barging into the church and saying 'I OBJECT' to your marriage because he loves you.' - @niamhabitat
But the band were quick to allay fears that they were splitting, but vowing to continue as a four-piece.
Malik is already be nurturing his solo career, and is thought to be working on a solo album with acclaimed music producer Naughty Boy, who has worked with a string of hit-makers including Emeli Sande, Cheryl Cole and Leona Lewis.
The announcement comes just days after 1D released their Drag Me Down video, featuring Harry, Louis, Liam and Niall going into space.
Having formed in the 2010 series of the X Factor, the four-piece are said to have made around £25 million each in the five years they've been together as a band.
Rapper Professor Green was one of the first to react to the news, tweeting: “1d are splitting up?! I thought they were on some kind of space odyssey?
“So there wasn't only one direction after all
“One direction go their separate ways - is this a paradox? Forgive me I left school in year 8.”
Additional reporting by PA