A simple, straightforward announcement on R.E.M.'s website told their fans and friends that after 31 years together, the band is breaking up.
"As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band," the note says.
"We feel kind of like pioneers in this--there's no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off," said Mike Mills in a statement on the website.
Michael Stipe's statement said, "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. "
"Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift," said Peter Buck to the band's friends and fans.
R.E.M. began in 1980, playing in clubs and venues around Athens. They have gone on to sell about 85 million albums worldwide. In 2007, R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.