Westlife are to split "amicably" after 14 years and 26 top ten hits.

The group will bow out following a farewell tour next year and said they are looking forward to "new ventures".

Over the course of their career the group has achieved 14 number one hits and sold 44 million albums.

In a statement the group said tonight: "Over the years Westlife has become so much more to us than just a band. Westlife are a family."

"We today announce our plan to go our separate ways after a greatest hits collection this Christmas and a farewell tour next year. We would like to thank our fans who have been with us on this amazing journey and are part of our family too."

"We never imagined when we started out in 1998 that 14 years later we would still be recording, touring and having hits together. It has been a dream come true for all of us."