Death Cab For Cutie, Jason McGerr, Nicholas Harmer, Ben Gibbard, Chris Walla

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

So this is the new era of Death Cab for Cutie.

Guitarist Chris Walla, one of the founding members of the alt-rock band, is leaving the group after 17 years. Frontman Ben Gibbard, bassist Nick Harmer and drummer Jason McGerr announced Walla's departure today on their website.

"We've had an incredible 17 years of making music with Chris," they said in a statement. "We are very proud of what we've accomplished together, including our 8th studio album which we have just put the finishing touches on. We will miss Chris and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career. We are excited about sharing new music, and seeing all of you very soon."

Chris Walla

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Lest this leave fans' stomachs twisted into knots, Walla will remain with Death Cab for the remainder of their summer shows, concluding with the Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, British Columbia, from Sept. 11-14.

And, Walla is on the band's as-yet untitled eighth studio album, which they recorded with producer Rich Costey with an eye on an early 2015 release. It will be their first LP since 2011's Codes and Keys, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.

"I will miss being a quarter of this band, and will support whatever course Death Cab for Cutie chooses from here," Walla said in a statement to Seattle music blog Slog on "I am profoundly grateful to Ben, Nick, and Jason, for the experiences that define my adult life. Truly grateful, beyond words. Thank you. I am also grateful to, and deeply humbled by, all of our fans. Without you, music would be mere ‘content' and nothing could possibly be sadder than that. Thank you all, so dearly."

He concluded: "Deciding to leave the band was not, and is not, easy. It's really, really sad. I love my bandmates, and I'm proud of what we've done, and mercifully, those things don't change with my departure. Moving forward, my plans are simply to continue making music, producing records, and erring on the side of benevolence and beauty whenever possible. Darkness may find me, but I shall never choose it."

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