Foals fans have shared messages of support for bassist Walter Gervers, who has decided to leave the Oxford band after 12 years.

The band broke the news in a handwritten note posted on its official social media channels.

The statement said their “mate” Walter was leaving the line-up to “pursue a new life”.

It added: “The parting has been so sad but we remain firm friends, he’ll always be our brother, we love him and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

It goes on: “We had 12 amazing years touring together from a small postal van to the Pyramid Stage and beyond.

“It’s the end of a chapter but not the end of the book.

“We want to thank him for all his time and energy and passion and we want to thank you for all your support from the early days and into the future.

“We are making new music and are working on the 5th LP it’s gonna be the best yet. Keep those ears alive.”

Fans around the world took to social media to share their shock at the news.

Adderbury-based baker Tess Brilliant Bakes, tweeted: “I remember Walter coming to see me to say he’d like to withdraw from his Fine Art degree because he’d got a record deal many years ago. Much happiness in this new phase of your life.”

Shellingtonboot urged the band to carry on, saying: “Just please never stop making that beautiful music!”

Tweeting from Mexico, Vani La quoted the name of their 2015 album, writing: “#WhatWentDown @foals so sad.”

From Chicago, John McCormack

replied: “Arguably the WGBATM (World’s Greatest Band at the Moment). I want to see you continue to grow and look forward to the new LP.”

Colombian fan Margarita said: “I wish Walter the best, he deserves it for all this years of commitment and making people happy and making them feel less alone contributing to the band with his talent.”

Forming 13 years ago, and playing their first gigs at local venues such as Oxford’s Cellar, Foals have gone on to become one of the world’s biggest acts –hogging top slots at the world’s biggest festivals such as Reading, Bestival, Glastonbury and Coachella, and picking up accolades and awards by the guitar case.

In 2012 they were named Best Act in the World at the Q Awards.