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That was That ... or was it?

Rumours that the top-selling pop band Take That were splitting up after one final tour reduced hordes of teenage girls to tears yesterday as their parents hoped that at least one craze might quietly die.

The four stars were to go their separate ways after five years together, seven number one singles and massive success, the reports said.

"The boys have always said they would go out on top, and that's exactly what they're doing," a senior music industry figure was quoted as saying.

The "completely unfounded" story was denied by the band's record company RCA, which was deluged by girls' telephone calls. Last year one member, Robbie Williams, 21, quit.

Today the band's remaining members - Gary Barlow, 25, Mark Owen, 24, Jason Orange, 25 and Howard Donald, 27 - are expected to make a statement on the affair in person at a secret location.