The four remaining band members took their last bow at Sheffield Arena, with Westmeath’s Niall Horan promising: “We will be back.”
Their On The Road Again tour ended with hugs, speeches, and assurances that the break is not permanent. Cowell, whose X Factor talent show saw Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and Horan brought together as a band at the boot camp stage in 2010, said their success had been “incredible”.
He tweeted: “Five incredible years. And it was all down to you and the fans. Enjoy the break boys. You deserve it.”
Five incredible years. And it was all down to you and the fans. Enjoy the break boys. You deserve it.................— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) November 1, 2015
Addressing fans at the Sheffield show, Horan said: “I can tell you this, we will be back. Touring is the best part of what we do, that’s why tonight is so emotional.”
Payne said: “This is the end of the On The Road Again Tour, not the end of One Direction.”
Father-to-be Tomlinson ordered: “Don’t cry, Liam. Save some for the other tours.”
“Please don’t forget us,” Styles begged their screaming followers. “We will always be here for you, you guys are the most incredible fans.”
We have been very lucky to work with an amazing crew throughout the last five years of touring. To all of you, thank you for everything.— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) November 1, 2015
To everyone who came out to see us on tour, thank you for having us. You've been our everything out there, and we love you. Thank you. H— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) November 1, 2015
Horan said: “I’ve had a great time, boys. I love you very much and thank you.”
Thank you anyone who has come to watch us live over the last few years, it's incredible to be able to play our music live for you .— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) November 1, 2015
There were tears from thousands of Directioners, as their fans are known, inside Sheffield Arena and across social media. On Twitter, fans posted about the gig and the imminent split.
“I’m dying!” said one user. “I’m sobbing!” said another. “Still crying!” was also a typical reaction.
The boys will still be around as 2015 ends, with fifth studio album Made In The AM released globally on November 13. They will also make a promotional appearance on Good Morning America on November 17.