Hype Life Magazine understands that the helicopter pilot, who helped the pop princess quit booze, has been killed by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
John Sundahl, 44, was shot down during a flight from Kabul, where he’d been working as a private contractor transporting officials across the war-torn nation, according to the Daily Mirror.
“She is devastated,” a source close to Spears told the UK paper.
“Britney thought he was a lovely man.”
A former real estate whiz, Sundahl dated Spears, 33, in 2007 after they met at Alcoholics Anonymous in Los Angeles. He spoke openly about her alcohol abuse.
“I told her, ‘If you fall off the wagon I don’t think you’ll live,” Sundahl told the National Enquirer in 2007.
“I told her, If you don’t want to get sober for yourself, do it for your kids,” he added.
Spears publicly credited him with helping her overcome her drinking problems.
From his LA home, Sundahl’s brother Karl said officials told the family the Taliban was responsible for the brave pilot’s death.
Sundahl’s body was returned to the U.S. last week. A small family funeral was held at a Buddhist temple in Los Angeles, according to The Mirror.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Karl Sundahl said. “John went there to try to repair the country. He was trying to help people, he would often say that the country was in chaos.”
“We had a really small funeral,” his brother said. “It was what John would have wanted.”