Britney Spears
The pop star dated John Sundahl briefly in 2007.

Britney Spears is said to be "devastated" following the death of her former boyfriend John Sundahl, a pilot whose helicopter was hit by a Taliban missile while flying near Kabul.

The 44-year-old, whose job was to fly dignitaries in and out of the conflict zone in Afghanistan, is credited with helping the pop star get through her public breakdown, after they met at an alcoholics anonymous meeting in 2007.

"I told her: 'If you fall off the wagon, I don't think you will live. If you don't want to get sober for yourself, do it for your kids'," Sundahl told the National Enquirer in 2007.

"She truly wants to stop what she's doing, and she has changed her life in another direction. She doesn't get drunk every night and pass out," he said.

While their romance was brief they reportedly stayed friends.

Although Spears has yet to release and official statement, pals say she is understandably upset.

"She is devastated," a source close to Britney told the Daily Mirror. "Britney thought he was a lovely man."

His brother Karl, who also lives in LA, told the Mirror that their family was struggling with his sibling's tragic death.

"It's heartbreaking – 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."