The NME.COM office is a solemn place today - and the newsagent downstairs has run out of hankies...

BUSTED have confirmed they are to split.

Bandmember Charlie Simpson has left the band to concentrate on his new band Fightstar.

Following months of rumours, the announcement was made at a press conference in London today (January 14).

A statement reads: “Following the departure of Charlie Simpson, Busted announced today (Friday 14th Jan 2005) that they have decided to split up.

“Over the last two years James Bourne, Charlie Simpson and Matt Willis have become household names. Busted have had eight top three hits, including four number ones. Both Busted albums, 2002’s ’Busted’ and 2003’s ’A Present For Everyone’, have clocked up over one million sales each.

“Busted won Best Pop Act and Best Breakthrough Act at the 2004 BRIT awards and they were nominated for Best British Group. Most recently they topped the charts with the theme to the ’Thunderbirds’ movie, which was voted Record Of The Year.

“In the course of their career Busted have sold out 50 UK arenas, including 11 Wembleys, and last year they sold more Wembley (gigs) than any other artist (equalling the all time record), consolidating their position as the biggest and best pop act in the UK.”

Matt Willis said: “It’s a really sad day for all of us but we’ve always said that if one member left then we’d call it a day. The last three years have been unbelievable and I’d like to say a massive thank you to all our fans – you’ve been amazing.”

Charlie Simpson said: “I’m incredibly proud of everything that we’ve achieved in Busted. We’ve enjoyed some of the best times in our lives together. I wouldn’t change one single bit of it. This has been a really difficult decision and I hope the fans will understand.”

James Bourne added: “I’m devastated that Charlie has chosen to quit Busted, but I have to respect his decision and I fully support him and wish him all the best for the future. I would like to say a personal thank you to all the fans who have made the last three years the best years of my life. I’ll remember these years forever.”

Simpson is set to take his new band on the road this Friday (January 14). The band release their debut EP, ‘They Liked You Better When You Were Dead’, on February 28.