The flight had 253 passengers and 12 crew members and was diverted to San Francisco for early landing, Hawaiian airline officials said on Friday.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Emil Griffith … who died while working on our flight between Honolulu and New York last night," Hawaiian air officials said on Friday. "We are forever grateful to Emil's colleagues and the good Samaritans on board who stayed next to him and provided extensive medical assistance."
The author, André Bartz, was on board the plane and heard when it happened.
"For a long time, they did not want doctors to come first class, so I hope they're okay," she writes. "The first time I ever had a diversion flight.
After re-routing, the airline said passengers were booked on the first available flights. Hawaiian Airlines made consulting available to employees.