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Atsuko Maeda, the pop icon and original member of all-girl group AKB48, announced Sunday that she will leave the band.

“I — Atsuko Maeda — will graduate from AKB48. I tried my best in the 6½ years” since the group began, a tearful Maeda said during a concert. “I must move forward to my dream at the age of 20.”

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