Ray J released a statement to The Associated Press regarding Whitney Houston's death on Friday. The singer has been photographed visibly shaken after the 48-year-old pop star died Feb. 11 in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton Hotel room.

Ray J said that he has spent the last few days trying to process the emptiness that I feel. What my heart feels cannot be expressed in words. He said that the world might have lost an icon but I lost my close friend.

The 28-year-old expressed some tenderness, calling Whitney Houston by her nickname, Nippy I miss you so much! You were so happy and full of love.  Your smile will live in my heart forever. 

He and the deceased singer spent time together before her death. The two were spotted dining together at Le Petit Four on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood earlier this month. The couple reportedly dated from 2007 to 2009, though, in a recent interview Ray J said they were just friends.

You know they blow this thing out of proportion, he said, referencing the rumors in the press regarding the two rekindling their relationship in recent weeks.

That's my friend. I've known her for years and years and years; and she's a friend of the family. So, when we go out it's just the next day it's everywhere and there are so many different stories. But that's my people, that's my friend.

You know what, I have a lot of love for her. And a lot of respect for her, he said. The Insider host pressed on about their romantic past, to which Ray J responded, I think that... I don't think that you can really say that. I just think that our friendship is something that people might not understand maybe because of the age different. We've always just been friends.

We hug. We laugh. We go out to dinner. We talk about different things in our lives. You know, she's a good person, he said.

We've always kept our relationship as private as we could. When we go out we try to keep our relationship as private as we could. You know when we go out, she's such an icon, it reaches the masses. But, for the most part, we've just been friends. And we've always kept everything hush-hush and private.

Ray J's representative, Courtney Barnes, said that he will attend Houston's funeral in Newark, NJ, on Saturday.