The band call it a day after 31 years
In a statement on their website the band said:
"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."
The split comes shortly after the band released their fifteenth album, Collapse Into Now, but decided that they wouldn't tour in support of the record.
Mike Mills said of the split: "We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love and respect each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this - there's no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring off. We've made this decision together, amicably and with each other's best interests at heart."
"A wise man once said - 'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave," agrees Michael Stipe. "We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it. I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end; and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way. We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years, our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It's been amazing."
Peter Buck added "One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M., was the fact that the records we made and the songs we wrote, meant as much to our fans as they did to us. It was, and still is, important to us to do right by them. Being a part of their lives has been an unbelievable gift.
"Mike, Michael, Bill, Bertis, and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone that has followed and supported us through the years. Even if it's only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of a club; watching a group of 19-year-olds trying to change the world."
The Georgia based band have sold more than 85m albums in a 31 year career that has seen them at one time sign the biggest recording deal in history (at the time) and achieve a massive eight number 1 albums in the UK.
They will say goodbye with a brand new hits collection, which will be released in November.