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R.E.M. members (from left) Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Peter Buck in London in 2001.


R.E.M., the veteran rock band from Athens, Ga., have announced on their website that they are breaking up after three decades of making music together.

The college-radio favourites, fronted by Michael Stipe, said they have decided to "call it a day" and that they walk away with "a great sense of gratitude" for all they have accomplished.

Said Stipe on the website: "A wise man once said, 'The skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.' We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it.

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"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."

The band was formed in 1980; its original members included Stipe, bassist Mike Mills, guitar player Peter Buck and drummer Bill Berry. Berry retired from the band in 1997.

Their biggest hits include The One I Love, Losing My Religion, Man on the Moon, It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) and Everybody Hurts.3

Earlier this year, they released their latest studio album, Collapse Into Now. The Globe and Mail's rock critic, Brad Wheeler, called the album "a return to form – trademark jangle, reflection and snarl from the religion-losing Georgians."

With files from The Canadian Press

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