01:03 AM EDT 10/17/2013

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Ray J Broke Down After Whitney Houston's Death | Brandy, Ray J

Ray J Broke Down After Whitney Houston's Death

Originally posted 02/13/2012 09:00AM

Ray J was supposed to be celebrating his sister Brandy's birthday Saturday night. Then he heard the news about Whitney Houston.

An extremely close friend of the singer's, Ray J (real name: William Ray Norwood Jr.), 31, broke down and cried at Ne-Yo and Compound Entertainment's annual Midnight Brunch in Los Angeles. The pre-Grammy Awards party, presented by Malibu Red, had become an impromptu tribute to Houston.

Ray J and Brandy, 33, arrived around 1:50 a.m. and immediately went to their table. Then, Ray J, with his sunglasses on and his hood up, "couldn't hold it together," an onlooker tells PEOPLE. "He was sobbing."

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