The surgeon, who had worked on a series of stars including Heidi Montag, Janice Dickinson and Gene Simmons, died after his vehicle crashed down a cliff off California's Pacific Coast Highway.
And his former partner, Charmaine Blake, reveals that the doctor was busy concentrating on his cell phone instead of driving.
She tells People.com, "He lived up in Malibu on a tiny street and he was texting while driving and he accidentally went over the cliff."
California Highway Patrol officials confirm that Ryan was using his phone before his death, but refused to single out that as the cause of the accident.
Officer Steven Reid tells the publication, "It is one of the elements that we are investigating."
Ryan hit headlines earlier this year (10) when he came under fire for transforming Montag with 10 cosmetic procedures in one day.
Dr. Frank Ryan, whose celebrity clients included Gene Simmons, Vince Neil and The Hills star Heidi Montag, died after his Jeep crashed down a cliff off California's Pacific Coast Highway.
Dickinson is devastated by the loss and has led the tributes to the 50-year-old medic.
In a statement to TMZ.com, her representative says, "Janice is deeply, deeply anguished! She is stunned and wants the world to know what a genius Dr. Ryan was.
"He was a friend and my love goes out to his mother and the rest of the family."
Meanwhile, Montag has also sent her condolences to Ryan's family in a heartfelt post on her Twitter.com blog.
She writes, "I am devastated to hear the news of Dr. Frank Ryan's death. He was the most amazing person I have ever known.
"He was an angel and changed my life and the lives of everyone he met. He was the most brilliant talented surgeon who will ever exist. Dr. Frank Ryan changed the world.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to his mother, family, friends, and anyone who was ever blessed enough to meet him. He is in a better place."
Ryan hit headlines earlier this year (10) when he came under fire for transforming Montag with 10 cosmetic procedures in one day. The reality TV star underwent surgery on her nose, cheekbones and chin, as well as enduring an eyebrow lift and breast enlargement, among other procedures.
It's good to be Regis Philbin. If you are Regis Philbin, you have "television magic." If you are Regis Philbin, you are "the hottest thing in television." And if you are Regis Philbin, you have a fat, new contract with your TV bosses.
The suits at ABC and parent-company Disney announced today that they'd inked Reeg to long-term deals to continue as host of the network's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and the Disney-produced syndicated morning talker "Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee."
In making the announcement, Buena Vista Television President Janice Marinelli said all that stuff about Regis being hot and having magic. Unfortunately, she didn't say anything about how much they're going to be paying Reeg. (Reports that Philbin had secured a $20 million-per-year deal out of ABC for "Millionaire" recently were denied -- by Philbin.)
The deals come on the heels of: (1) "Millionaire" securing the Top Five slots in the latest Nielsen ratings; and, (2) Kathie Lee announcing her plans to cut out on "Regis & Kathie Lee" come July.
Can you say bargaining power?
We bet Regis can.
STUNNING NEWS! Following through on her threat to file for annulment from her "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" spouse, Darva Conger has, um, filed for annulment. The deed was done Tuesday in Nevada. Conger, 34, and Rick Rockwell, 42, were wed in Las Vegas on Feb. 15 for a Fox special. In court papers, Conger said the marriage "was entered into solely for an entertainment purpose." Clearly, that's usually what the honeymoon's for.
UNJUST COS? Bill Cosby is threatening to slap the National Enquirer with a $250 million lawsuit over a story in the tab's March 14 edition that details a reputed police complaint about a sex attack filed against him by a 20-year-old sometime-actress on his CBS sitcom "Cosby." Prosecutors in New York say they can't comment on any case unless there's an arrest; the Enquirer reported that authorities declined to press charges. Cosby's rep calls the Enquirer story "not true"; the tab say it is, too. So there.