His daughter Terri Saaga Sua said her father died at Kuakini Medical Centre in Honolulu.
He was 67.
In his lifetime, Eti had been a builder of roads, a journalist, a government press officer, TV host, documentary producer, speech writer and translator for a congressman.
Eti was one of the star graduates of Samoa College and was influenced by his English teacher, the novelist Albert Wendt.
He turned down a scholarship to study in New Zealand, opting instead to be a labourer, building roads.