The plane had 253 passengers and 12 crew members, and was relocated to San Francisco for an early landing, Hawaiian Airlines officials said Friday.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Emile Griffith … who passed by while we were working on our flight between Honolulu and New York last night," Hawaiian airmen said in a statement on Friday. "We are forever grateful to Emile & # 39; s colleagues and good Samaritans aboard who remained at his side and provided extensive medical care."
Author Andrea Bartz was aboard the plane and tweeted when it happened.
"It's been a long time since they asked doctors to come first class, so I hope they're okay," she tweeted at that time. "The first time I've ever had a flight derived, somehow. Waiting for the medic to board now."
After the flight was diverted, the airline said the passengers were booked on the first available aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines has provided advice to employees.