The flight had 253 passengers and 12 crew members and was rerouted to San Francisco for an early landing, Hawaiian Airlines officials said Friday.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Emile Griffith, who died last night during our flight between Honolulu and New York," Hawaiian Air officials said Friday. "We are always grateful for Emile's colleagues and good Samaritans on board, who stayed with him and provided extensive medical help."
The author Andrea Bartz was aboard and tweeted when it happened.
"It has been a long time since they asked for doctors to come to first grade, I hope they are fine," she tweeted at the time. "For the first time ever, I had diverted a flight, somehow, waiting for the doctors to get in."
After the flight was diverted, the airline said that the passengers were booked on the first available flights. Hawaiian Airlines has offered advice to employees.