Sandy Cohen, AP
Celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan, who made headlines for performing multiple surgeries on reality TV star Heidi Montag, has died. He was 50 years old.
The California Highway Patrol says Ryan's 1995 Jeep Wrangler went off the side of Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu and landed on its roof Monday afternoon. Besides Montag, Ryan's celebrity clientele included musician Vince Neil, actor Lorenzo Lamas, reality stars Lisa Gastineau and Adrianne Curry and several models and beauty queens.
The Ventura County medical examiner's office said an autopsy would be performed, but no cause of death had been established.
Ryan's friend and client, model and reality star Janice Dickinson, was “deeply, deeply anguished” after hearing of the doctor's death, her publicist said. “She is stunned and wants the world to know what a genius Dr. Ryan was,” publicist Brad Taylor said Tuesday.
Ryan was a close friend of boxer Oscar De La Hoya, and attended all his fights from 2002 until De La Hoya's retirement last year. “After any fight in which I was cut or suffered an injury, Dr. Ryan was always there for me from the time I left the ring until I was fully healed, even going so far as to accompany me to the hospital following a fight if necessary,” De La Hoya said in a statement.
As a promoter, De La Hoya requested that Ryan be ringside whenever possible so boxers fighting as part of Golden Boy events were under his immediate care should they get injured. “He was an outstanding physician, a wonderful and charitable person as well as a good friend,” the boxer said.
Curry said in a statement Tuesday that she and Ryan shared “in-depth conversations about him wanting to start a family of his own, now that he had a very successful career.” Ryan operated on her twice, she said, adding, “I considered him a friend.”
According to his website, Ryan graduated from the University of Michigan in 1982 and from the Ohio State University College of Medicine four years later. Ryan opened his private practice in 1994, the same year he established his namesake charitable foundation that provides free removal of gang-related tattoos and hosts day and overnight camps for children at Malibu's Bony Pony Ranch.
Ryan is survived by his mother, Mary Kate Ryan, and by many cousins, aunts and uncles, according to estate representative Melanie Sims Frank.