Malik bandmates, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Harry Styles, will carry on without him.
The band is currently touring Southeast Asia and is scheduled to perform in Manilia and Jakarta, Indonesia.
“Zayn has signed off with stress and is flying back to the UK to recuperate,” a band rep said in statement. ““The band wish him well.”
A report out of the UK claimed that Malik was having a tough time dealing with the band’s fame.
“Zayn finds it tougher than the rest of his band-mates dealing with fame. Having his every movement scrutinized causes great anxiety and the pictures which surfaced with the fan yesterday was the final straw,” a source told a UK tabloid.
Malik was hit by an avalanche of criticism on social media, claiming he was cheating on his girlfriend Perrie Edwards. The catalyst was a photo posted on Instagram showing him with his arms around a “mystery woman.”
He reacted angrily on Twitter: “I’m 22 years old… I love a girl named Perrie Edwards. And there’s a lot of jealous f***s in this world I’m sorry for what it looks like x,” he wrote.
Malik has been a no show more than once, fueling rumors he has an alcohol or substance abuse problem. Each time, however, band reps have cited other reasons for being missing in action.
Most recently, he was forced to drop out of a concert in Perth, Australia, after band management said he was too sick to perform.
He also missed the band’s high-profile “Today” show concert last November when they released their new album.
“Today” show host Matt Lauer asked bandmembers point-blank if Malik had a substance abuse problem. Then answer then was no. The band said he was simply down with the flu.
Malik and other bandmembers are known to have used drugs. They were videoed smoking what appeared to be marijuana during a tour last year.
As a result of the incident, he and Tomlinson were required to post a $5,000 bond each by the Philippine government, before they could enter the country on their current trek.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility for the band’s management to cover up serious drug or alcohol problems on tour by citing minor illnesses or “exhaustion.”
For the moment, fans are wishing Malik well and hoping he rejoins their “On the Road Again 2015 Tour” soon.
Check out a performance from the band’s stop in Bangkok, Thailand, let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest developments in this story.