Dr. Frank Ryan, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon to the stars who once estimated he had removed thousands of gang tattoos for free through his nonprofit foundation, has died in a single-car accident in Malibu. He was 50.
The Jeep Wrangler he was driving veered off Pacific Coast Highway on Monday afternoon and tumbled down a rocky embankment toward the ocean, landing on its roof. Ryan was declared dead at the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol.
His death was accidental and caused by blunt-force head injuries, said Janelle Payne, a forensic pathology technician for the Ventura County Medical Examiner.
In January, Ryan found himself the subject of controversy when Heidi Montag, 23, a star of the reality TV show "The Hills," revealed that he had done 10 plastic surgery procedures on her in a single marathon operation. They included breast implants, a nose-job revision and liposuction.
When asked whether such extensive work was a good idea, Ryan told People magazine around the time of the operation last November: "My first concern is for the safety of the patient, so I would never push the envelope. Heidi's a young, healthy girl; she was cleared medically. It was well within the realm of safety."
He later called Montag's decision a "calculated business move" by someone trying to make it in Hollywood.
In July, he told CNN that he considered both himself and Montag "brave" for openly talking about plastic surgery, which he said was "rampant" in Hollywood.
On her Twitter account, Montag said she was "devastated" by Ryan's death and called him "an angel" who "changed my life and the lives of everyone he met."
His celebrity clients included Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS and his wife, Shannon Tweed; Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil; and actor Lorenzo Lamas.
Frank Harry Ryan was born May 21, 1960, in Ohio and received his bachelor's degree in 1982 from the University of Michigan.
After earning his medical degree from Ohio State University in 1986, Ryan completed eight years of surgical training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the University of Missouri and UCLA Medical Center, according to his website.
He had been in private practice since 1994.
In 1993, he established the Bony Pony Ranch Foundation and began removing gang-related tattoos.
Eventually, he brought groups of inner-city children to the Malibu ranch for mentoring and to interact with the horses, buffalo, pygmy goats and other animals that live on 17 acres next to his home.
He is survived by his mother, Mary Kate Ryan, a spokeswoman for his estate told the Associated Press.