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Nick Gordon Is 'Devastated' over Bobbi Kristina Brown's Death: 'He Really Did Love Her Very Much,' Says a Source

07/27/2015 AT 07:00 AM EDT



While Bobbi Kristina Brown's boyfriend, Nick Gordon, is facing legal woes in the wake of the 22-year-old's death, he is still "devastated" over the news, a source tells PEOPLE.

"Nick is very upset," the source says. "You can say what you want about him and Bobbi Kristina, but he really did love her very much and is devastated that she is gone."

"The passing of Bobbi Kristina is devastating to Nick and our family. Nick loved and cared for Krissi deeply, and he has suffered greatly each and every day they've been apart," his mother Michele Gordon tells PEOPLE. "Nick and our family are in mourning, and we ask that you respect our privacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with both the Houstons and the Browns during this difficult time."

Brown and Gordon, who was raised like a son by the late Whitney Houston, began a romantic relationship in 2012 shortly after Houston's death. The pair referred to each other as husband and wife on social media, but they were never married.

Gordon, 25, had a tumultuous relationship with Brown's family after they began dating. Bobbi Kristina's aunt, Pat Houston, took out a restraining order against Gordon in 2014. In 2013, her grandmother, Cissy Houston, wrote an open letter to Bobbi Kristina, telling her to wait to get married because "I think you're too young."



Gordon was one of the first people to discover Brown's unconscious body in the bathtub of their Roswell, Georgia, home on Jan. 31. Her family has been questioning the circumstances leading up to her near-drowning, with some believing that Gordon had something to do with the incident. He has continually maintained his innocence.

Back in June, Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr. told PEOPLE that they would be reviewing Brown's case "with greater interest." Gordon is also facing a $10 million lawsuit filed by Brown's conservators. In the papers, they accuse him of domestic abuse and of stealing money. (Gordon has assembled a high-profile legal team to determine what happened on the day Brown was found unresponsive.)



Also a source of distress was Gordon's being prevented from seeing Brown. Gordon had been barred by her father, singer Bobby Brown, from visiting her at the hospital, leading him to make public pleas for admittance. In March, he checked into rehab, and upon completion, he moved in with family in Florida.



"He is heartbroken and grieving," a close relative of Gordon's told PEOPLE last month. "Nick was holding out hope that he would see her one final time. He is very emotional."

Reporting by ELISSA ROSEN
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