In his first official comments about the tragic death of his ex-wife, Whitney Houston, the R&B star released a statement to PEOPLE saying, "I am deeply saddened at the passing of my ex-wife, Whitney Houston."
He adds, "At this time, we ask for privacy, especially for my daughter, Bobbi Kristina. I appreciate all of the condolences that have been directed towards my family and I at this most difficult time."
On the day Houston, 48, was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel, a tearful Brown performed in Mississippi with his band New Edition. "I love you, Whitney," he said from the stage.
A relative of Brown's says that he is "beside himself" with grief.