One of the most well respected and influential bands of the past decade have decided to part ways. After 13 years together and six albums, The White Stripes have officially broken up.

In a statement posted on their website this morning, it was announced that the band will no longer release new material or perform live. The group’s last album was 2007’s Icky Thump. Since then, they released last year’s live DVD Under Great White Northern Lights and reissued their first three albums. Jack White busied himself co-fronting both The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, as well as running Third Man Records, while Meg White mostly stayed out of the spotlight.

The statement quickly silenced any of the speculation that usually surrounds a band when they decide to break up, stating “The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health.”

“It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way,” the statement continues.

As a sort of parting message, Jack and Meg thanked their fans for all of their support and expressed the hope that their music will live on despite their decision.

“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”

As a follower of the band for many years, it is sad to see the band leave. However, I believe that their reason for calling it quits makes perfect sense, as plenty of bands have broken up in their prime in order to preserve their legacies. The White Stripes will live on as one of the pioneers of the garage-rock revival and a musical force, with several great singles and albums that set the bar exceedingly high for groups aiming to make blues-inspired rock. They struck a rare balance between innovation, experimentation, and commercial appeal, and there is no doubt that this news will sadden everyone who was touched by their music.