It's the end of an era for Death Cab for Cutie.

Founding guitarist Chris Walla announced on Wednesday that he'll be leaving the alternative rock band after 17 years, in a statement released to Seattle-based music blog Slog. His last concert with the group will take place at Victoria, BC's Rifflandia Festival on September 13.

You can find the full text of Walla's statement below, and further down a response from his Death Cab bandmates Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr:

"Short version: I’m leaving Death Cab for Cutie. My last show with the band will be September 13, 2014, at the Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, BC. I hope you guys can make it.

Longer version: I think I long for the unknown. It might be that simple.

I will miss being a quarter of this band, and will support whatever course Death Cab for Cutie chooses from here. 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.

We’ve just finished our eighth album, which is our first with an outside producer. That producer is a fellow named Rich Costey, and working with him in this capacity is one of the greatest joys of my professional life. Thank you, as well.

There are so many others to whom I am grateful—our crew, our management, our families, the Atlantic, Barsuk and Elsinor labels, the Billions team. Thank you all.

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."

And from his bandmates:

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

First formed as a solo project by lead singer Gibbard, Death Cab soon expanded to include Walla, bassist Harmer and original drummer Nathan Good. The group have released a total of seven studio albums (with an eighth as-yet untitled LP on the way) and six EPs and have been nominated for seven Grammys.

Will you be sad to see Walla go, Death Cab fans? Sound off in the comments.