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Ray J to Whitney

'I Miss You So Much!'

2/17/2012 8:14 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0211-rayj_whitney_EX_01Ray J has broken his silence on Whitney Houston's death, saying, "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.  The world lost an icon, but I lost my close friend."

Ray J continues, "Nippy, I miss you so much!"   Nippy was a nickname Whitney's dad gave her.

And Ray J adds, "You were so happy and full of love.  Your smile will live in my heart forever."

Ray J was dating Whitney in the months before she died.

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