Long-standing TOWIE cast member Mario Falcone has announced he is leaving the hit show - sad face

We’ve got sad news for you this Monday morning, TOWIE fans – Mario Falcone has announced he’s quitting the show.

The Essex lad has starred in the ITVBe show for 14 series, but has decided to move on.

Confirming the news, Mario told Mirror TV: ‘I have had a great time on TOWIE and relished the many opportunities the show has given me but after 14 series, I feel it is time to move on and explore something new.’

As the news broke, the man himself seemed happy with his decision, greeting his Twitter followers with an enthusiastic ‘Good morning world!!’

But many of his fans appeared in need of a hug, expressing their shock and sadness about his departure from the award-winning show.

One posted: ‘Totally gutted @Mario_Falcone has quit #TOWIE.’

Another wrote: ‘Noooooooooooo @Mario_Falcone has quit #towie ! He will be missed was def one of the best in there xx [sic]’

Meanwhile another seemed concerned by the lack of TV totty his quitting would leave in her life, posting: ‘Why!!!!! Now I have no one to nice to look at on my TV.’

We hear you – he will leave a rather gorgeously ripped hole in our TV viewing, won’t he? And so soon after we lost Elliott Wright too – sob!

The news of Mario’s departure comes just two months after the latest in the star’s string of suspensions from the show was lifted.

The fitness lover was banned from taking part in filming time back in May after he broke ITV rules by using his social media accounts to promote slimming pills.

And Mario’s time on the show has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs.

He had a long-term relationship with fellow TOWIE star Lucy Mecklenberg, with the couple getting engaged during a The Only Way Is Marbs special.

However, the pair split following rumours that the Italian Stallion had cheated on her (remember when she flung a glass of red wine over him?). The split caused Mario to attempt suicide with an overdose of “horrendously strong painkillers”.

He was also suspended from the show in 2014 after snorting cocaine. He later admitted: ‘I was stupid – but I’ve grown up.’

But it’s the good times that TOWIE fans will no doubt remember, and we look forward to seeing what Mario does next!

MORE! Who is ex-TOWIE star Joey Essex’s new girlfriend?

TOWIE’s Sam Faiers reveals the £500 body secret to her incredible abs