Ray J Breaks Silence on Whitney Houston's Death

The singer and reality TV star opens up, "the world lost an icon, but I lost my close friend."

Posted: 02/17/2012 04:12 PM EST

It's been six days since the news broke that Whitney Houston had passed and now her friend and former lover Ray J, whom the star had been hanging out with in the days before her death, has finally broken his silence on the tragedy.

"Over the past few days, I've tried to process the emptiness that I am experiencing," Ray J 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," he continued, using her family nickname. "You were so happy and full of love. Your smile will live in my heart forever."

It was widely speculated that Houston and Ray J were dating in the months before she died. The on-again, off-again couple was spotted sharing a meal at Le Petit Four in West Hollywood on February 5. After the dinner, the pair left in Ray J's car and, as TMZ reports, J was a "perfect gentleman" toward Whitney, opening car doors and all. The former lovers dated from 2007 to 2009 and then briefly fell back into old habits in 2010. According to US Magazine, Whitney was spotted out at Tru nightclub with her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and Ray J the night before she passed.

BET Networks and Centric will honor the life and legacy of Whitney Houston in the BET News special "Live: The Homegoing of Whitney Houston," premiering this Saturday, Feb. 18, followed by BET Remembers Whitney, a one-hour special commemorating the chart-topping artist. BET.com will also live-stream Saturday’s services.

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(Photo:  Denise Truscello/WireImage)