Texting while driving caused Hollywood plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan's fatal accident on the Pacific Coast Highway, his ex-girlfriend told People magazine.

"He lived up in Malibu on a tiny street and he was texting while driving, and he accidentally went over the cliff," Charmaine Blake said.

She said Ryan's family was told by investigators that his texting contributed to his death.

California Highway Patrol confirmed to People that Ryan, 50, was texting before the crash, but would not say it caused the accident.

"It is one of the elements that we are investigating," CHP Officer Steven Reid said.

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SLIDESHOW: Photos of the Crash Scene.

Minutes before his crash, Ryan had Tweeted: "After 25 years of driving by, I finally hiked to the top of the giant sand dune on the pch west of Malibu. Much harder than it looks! Whew! ... Border collie jill surveying the view from atop the sand dune."

He also Tweeted a photo of his dog on the dune.

Emergency responders attempted to remove him from vehicle, but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His dog Jill was thrown from the vehicle and found in the ocean. She suffered serious injuries to her head, paw and eye and was later released to a member of  Dr. Ryan's ranch staff, TMZ reported..

Ryan was a staple in Hollywood, working on countless celebrities including Janice Dickinson, Adrianne Curry, Shauna Sand and Gene Simmons.

But it was his work with MTV reality star Montag that earned him notoriety; he completely (and publicly) transformed the troubled celebrity's looks. Performing 10 procedures in one day, Ryan gave Montag a mini brow lift, Botox, a nose job, a "back scoop," liposuction and an ear pinning, among other alterations.

SLIDESHOW: Heidi Montag's Plastic Surgery Transformation

But Montag praised him in the hours after his death, calling him “the most brilliant talented surgeon who will ever exist.”

Taking to her Twitter page, Montag wrote, "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. 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."

Other clients mourned his death as well, also expressing their remorse via Twitter.

"Oh my! Friend and plastic surgeon Dr Frank Ryan died yesterday in a terrible car crash. I was supposed to see him Thursday morning," model Caitlyn O’Connor Tweeted.

Public relations expert Lizzie Grubman Tweeted: “Dr. Frank Ryan RIP...you will truly be missed.”

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. "Her love goes out to his mother and the rest of the family."

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.

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