R.E.M. calls it quits after 31 years

R.E.M. members Michael Stipe (center), Mike Mills (left) and Peter Buck perform during a show on the street in downtown Toronto in 2001. The band announced on its website Wednesday that it was breaking up.

NEW YORK -- R.I.P. to R.E.M.

The alternative rock group that shook up the music world with its experimental, edgy sound and then earned multiplatinum success and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced on its website Wednesday that it has "decided to call it a day as a band."

"A wise man once said -- 'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.' We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it," frontman Michael Stipe said in a statement on the website.

"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 Grammy-winning group, now composed of Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck and bassist Mike Mills, released its debut album "Murmur" in 1983; at the time it was a quartet, with drummer Bill Berry. He left the group in 1997, two years after he suffered symptoms of an aneurysm onstage.

The group got its start in Athens, Ga., coming out of the region's flourishing indie-rock scene.