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Celebrity plastic surgeon apparently tweeted minutes before deadly crash

August 18, 2010 |  9:30 am

Frankryan A Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who died when his Jeep Wrangler veered off Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu appears to have posted Twitter updates about his dog minutes before the crash.

Dr. Frank Ryan, 50, may also have been texting at the time of the accident, his ex-girlfriend said.

Ryan posted a picture of his border collie at the beach on Twitter at 4:10 p.m. and 20 minutes later, while driving south on PCH north of Deer Creek Road, swerved and tumbled down a rocky embankment toward the ocean, his car landing on its roof.

The accident was reported at 4:33 p.m., according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Reid. Ryan was declared dead at the scene. His dog, Jill, survived the accident.

Reid said investigators have not confirmed the cause of the crash but were looking into whether text messaging or Twittering may have played a role.

“We’re looking into that along with many other factors,” Reid said.

Ryan's ex-girlfriend, Los Angeles publicist Charmaine Blake, told People magazine on Tuesday that Ryan was "texting while driving and he accidentally went over the cliff."

In an interview Wednesday with The Times, she revised her statement and said she had heard the information from one of Ryan's "celebrity friends."

"That person contacted me to break the news that he died," Blake said. "She said he was Twittering or texting or something at the time of the accident."

Ryan’s celebrity clients included Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS, Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil and Heidi Montag, star of the reality TV show "The Hills."

Last year, Ryan found himself in the spotlight after Montag revealed that Ryan 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, "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."

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."

-- Kate Linthicum