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Nearly one full week after her passing, Ray J is opening up about the sudden death of his friend, and rumored girlfriend, Whitney Houston. The singer-turned-reality-star has been in hiding since Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel last weekend, a mere 48 hours after they were last spotted together. In a statement released to the Associated Press Friday (Feb. 17), Ray J said he’s spent the past few days attempting to “process the emptiness” that he feels.

While the rest of the world was stunned by her death, according to Ray J, dealing with the loss of Houston is doubly painful. “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 added, referencing the singer’s nickname which was given to her by her father. “You were so happy and full of love. Your smile will live in my heart forever.”

Both Ray J and his sister, Brandy, will attend Houston’s invitation-only funeral, which will be held at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., Saturday at noon. Several stars are expected to show up, including longtime family friend and mentor Aretha Franklin, as well as Stevie Wonder, both of whom will sing at the ceremony. Clive Davis, the man credited with starting Houston’s career, is also slated to speak at the funeral. Contrary to previous reports that he was banned from attending, Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, will also be at the service.

According to a copy of the invitation posted on, Houston’s funeral has been called a “home going.” The ceremony will be broadcast both on the Internet and on select networks including E! and BET.

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