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DJ AM's death wasn't only a loss to the music industry. According to his onetime plastic surgeon and pal Dr. Frank Ryan, it was a loss to philanthropy as well.

Ryan performed an abdominoplasty and liposuction on the artist born Adam Goldstein back in 2003 after being introduced to the celebrity spinner through then-girlfriend Nicole Richie. Speaking to E! News, Ryan had nothing but praise for AM, who, as recently as two months ago, told the doctor he was "absolutely great."

"Adam and I became friends after the surgery," Ryan said. "One side of him the public may not be aware of is he was very philanthropic. One of the things I want to get out to the public is what a phenomenal guy he was."

Ryan sat down with E! News to discuss the duo's first meeting, three years and 150 pounds after AM's gastric bypass surgery, Richie's role in his recovery, his workaholic nature and the dangers prescription pain killers can pose to onetime substance abusers.

Here's what the good doctor had to say:

On Nicole: Nicole was with Adam pretty much every visit. They were definitely a loving couple and I thought they had a wonderful chemistry together.

On Adam's state of mind at the time of his surgery: He was definitely sort of on an upswing in his life. He'd had gastric bypass and he was clean and sober for several years at that point and was ready to sort of improve things so he came to me for body contouring procedures.

On Adam's tireless work ethic: This is a big surgery. [In the recovery room] he's got one or two laptops, he's sitting up in bed, you know, working. This was literally six hours after a tummy tuck and his mom was in the room and we were just joking about what a workaholic he was.

On Adam's personality: He was an energetic, motivated person.

On Adam's philanthropy for Ryan's kids' charity, Bony Pony Ranch: It's something he wanted to do, we didn't have to seek him out.

On treating patients with past substance abuse: You have to manage that very carefully, of course, and make sure it's something that doesn't get out of hand…I don't want to dabble in something and prescribe pain pills after surgery that can then lead to an addiction. So I bring someone else in to help manage that post-operatively.

On his reaction to Adam's sudden death: I was clearly shocked.


Gone but not forgotten. Check out the life and times of the celebrity scratcher in our DJ AM tribute gallery.