Ray J to Whitney Houston: 'I Miss You Nippy'

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The singer breaks his silence on Houston's death, saying: "The world lost an icon but I lost my close friend."

Nearly a week since Whitney Houston's death, R&B singer Ray J -- with whom she was romantically linked -- is opening up about his heartbreak.

"Over the past few days I've tried to process the emptiness that I am experiencing," he said in a statement. "What my heart feels cannot be expressed in words. The world lost an icon but I lost my close friend.  Nippy I miss you so much! You were so happy and full of love. Your smile will live in my heart forever."

Ray J (last name: Norwood) is the brother of Brandy Norwood and, most scandalously, the co-star of Kim Kardashian's infamous sex tape.

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In the days before Houston died Saturday at the Beverly Hilton, she was seen fighting with X Factor finalist Stacy Francis, apparently because Houston felt "crowded out" in a conversation with Ray J, her on-and-off beau.

"Whitney just got belligerent," an eyewitness told The Hollywood Reporter.

Houston's body was discovered submerged in a bathtub in her hotel room; an autopsy has since been completed but the results are on hold pending a toxicology report.

Her funeral is set for Saturday at her childhood church in Newark, N.J. Clive Davis and Kevin Costner are slated to speak at the private services, while Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder on the lineup as performers. Bobby Brown, Tyler Perry, Alicia Keys and Houston's cousin, Dionne Warwick, are among the celebrity guests scheduled to attend.

When reached by THR, Houston's rep, Jill Fritzo, said she did not know whether Ray J would join the mourners.



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