CBS News National Correspondent Jeff Glor reported on "The Early Show" Thursday Ryan, 50, was known in Hollywood as the plastic surgeon to the stars, making headlines for what some considered "extreme makeovers."
The surgeon became a celebrity because of what he did for celebrities. Rockers Gene Simmons and Vince Neill, reality stars Melissa Rivers, Lorenzo Lamas and Shauna Sand were all clients of Ryan -- many even let the cameras roll as he transformed them.
Perhaps his most famous patient was Heidi Montag, who actually underwent 10 plastic surgeries in one day with Ryan late last year.
Ryan died while driving the Pacific Coast Highway when his Jeep Wrangler went off the road, landing on its rooftop. Only moments before, Ryan was sending pictures and updates to his Twitter page, including one about his dog, which read, "Border collie Jill surveying the view from atop the sand dune."
Before that, Ryan wrote, "After 25 years of driving by, I finally hiked to the top of the giant sand dune on the PCH west of Malibu."
Authorities have yet to determine if his texting contributed to the crash.
On Tuesday, a candlelight vigil drew celebrity clients and friends, one of whom called Ryan "a genius."
Montag posted a tweet, saying, "I am devastated. He was the most amazing person I have ever known. He was an angel and he changed my life. … Dr. Frank Ryan changed the world."
Charmaine Blake, Ryan's former girlfriend, said, "Frank was a perfectionist, and when he works on you everything has to be detailed and perfect...He's the last person on earth anyone expected to die."
Those who knew Ryan said he was not only known for his celebrity work, but his charitable causes. The doctor donated much of his time to helping former gang members by removing their tattoos.