It really is "The End of the World as We Know It".

R.E.M. announced on their website Wednesday that they have broken up after more than 30 years together. In a statement the band said "As lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished."

The band helped redefine the music of the 1980s and '90s with such landmark albums as "Murmur", "Reckoning", "Out of Time" and "Automatic for the People".

Lead singer Michael Stipe said  "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 plans to release a greatest hits compilation later this year, including some new songs recorded after the completion of their most recent album, "Collapse Into Now".