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Six days after Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room, the singer's on-again, off-again boyfriend Ray J has released a statement.

"Over the past few days, I've tried to process the emptiness that I am experiencing. What my heart feels cannot be expressed in words," he tells Us Weekly in a statement. "The world lost an icon, but I lost my close friend."

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston's incredible legacy

"Nippy, I miss you so much! You were so happy and full of love," Ray J, 31, says. "Your smile will live in my heart forever."

VIDEO: Remembering Whitney Houston (1963-2012)

At Tru nightclub on Feb. 9, Houston was spotted pounding tequila shots and champagne with her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, 18, an eyewitness tells the new issue of Us Weekly (out now). She was also spotted cuddling with Ray J before jumping onstage for a duet of "Jesus Loves Me" with Grammy nominee Kelly Price.

When Ray J learned of Houston's death on Saturday, he "rushed over" to the Beverly Hilton Hotel and "spent the night comforting Bobbi Kristina," an insider says. "He's absolutely devastated."

Houston will be laid to rest at noon Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. The funeral will be broadcast online and on BET.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston's family album 

Kevin Costner, Alicia Keys, Clive Davis, Aretha Franklin, Tyler Perry, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Kim Burrell, Rickey Minor, Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Winans and Cece Winans are expected to attend the service.


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