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Guitarist Chris Walla has announced that he is leaving Death Cab For Cutie, according to Consequence Of Sound. Walla has been a member of the band for nearly 17 years and played on all seven of its commercially released studio albums, acting as a producer and engineer on all of them as well. His last concert with Death Cab will be at the Rifflandia Festival on September 13th in Victoria, British Columbia. His departure comes just after the group recently finished working on its eighth studio album, which will follow up 2011’s Codes And Keys.

Walla posted a "goodbye" letter at Seattle's Stranger blog, in which he wrote, "I long for the unknown," adding, "I will miss being a quarter of this band, and will support whatever course Death Cab for Cutie chooses from here."

Walla went on to thank the band, its management, record labels, crew and fans, before continuing, "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."

In a separate post on Facebook, the band stated, "We’ve had an incredible 17 years of making music with Chris. We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished together, including our eighth 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."

There's no word yet on a title or release date for the new Death Cab album, and Walla has yet to announce his immediate plans for the future.

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