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8 June 2018, 10:07 | Updated: 8 June 2018, 16:10
Westlife's former manager will not be returning to the ITV talent show this year as it undergoes a huge shake up.
Legendary TV judge, Louis Walsh will not return to this year's X Factor following a shock exit from the show.
The 65-year-old music manager has been the longest running judge on The X Factor, appearing on all bar one series since the show began in 2004.
As a fan favourite, the news will no doubt come as a blow to fans, but production company Thames and Syco have reassured that Louis will remain a key talent on their roster, most notably as head judge on Ireland’s Got Talent which returns in 2019.
Louis Walsh said: “I’ve had a fantastic 13 years on The X Factor but the show needs a change and I’m ready to leave.
“I’m looking forward to another series of Ireland’s Got Talent, going back to my day job as a manager, writing my memoirs and seeing the world!”
ITV: Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbournes, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell on the X Factor panel in 2017
Bosses are now heralding the exit as making way for a "new era" on the show, which is set to return for it's 15th year this summer.
New names rumoured to replace him include Stormzy and Robbie Williams.
Thames Managing Director, Amelia Brown said: “Louis has been a huge part of The X Factor’s success since it launched and remains a good friend of the show.
“His contribution cannot be overstated. We would like to thank him for all he has given to the show over the years and look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.”
"This is the start of a new era for The X Factor. I am really excited about all the ideas we have for the coming series including, of course, the new judging panel.”
Meanwhile, Sharon Osbourne - who has appeared on seven series - is being lined up to take on exciting new role on the show, which will see her appear as a judge on The X Factor’s live episodes after reportedly being offered a £2 million pay check.
Speaking of the news, Sharon said: “I can’t wait to get back to the judges’ desk. I love the new format.”
Upon hearing the news, fans quickly took to Twitter share their disappointment.
Louis Walsh is leaving the X Factor?? How the hell are we gonna know who is fun, exciting and exactly what the competition needs??— Jake (@Jakep010923) June 7, 2018
Can't wait for the X Factor to flop without Louis Walsh again and him making a third 'triumphant' return in the second episode.— Sean (@WafcSean) June 7, 2018
It's not yet clear who will join Simon Cowell when audition begin at Wembley Arena in London this summer and new judges are expected to be announced in due course.
More than 30,000 contestants have so far entered the 2018 series.