Jason Decrow / AP file
Michael Stipe, left, and Peter Buck, perform with R.E.M. on the TODAY show in New York on April 1, 2008.
Fans of the long-running rock band R.E.M. got a bit of a shock Wednesday when the group announced on its website that they were calling it quits.
"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, said a statement at remhq. "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." R.E.M.
"A wise man once said -- 'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave,'" Michael Stipe said on the site. "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."
R.E.M. formed in Athens, Ga., in 1980 with singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry. The alternative rockers found an audience among college-radio faithful and went on to release 15 albums. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
R.E.M.'s last album, "Collapse into Now," was released in March.
Enjoy a few clips plucked from the band's 31-year career:
Share your thoughts about R.E.M. -- favorite songs, albums, concert moments, videos, etc. -- in the comments.