The chief medical examiner of Massachusetts has determined that the Obama family’s personal chef accidentally drowned last month in a lake on Martha’s Vineyard, officials said on Tuesday.
According to the Massachusetts State Police, the chef, Tafari Campbell, 45, of Dumfries, Virginia, was visiting the island in late July and was paddleboarding close to the former first family’s vacation residence when he was noticed struggling in the water.
According to Timothy McGuirk, a spokesman for the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Mr. Campbell’s death on July 23 was found by the chief medical examiner’s office to be an accident on Tuesday night. The state police reported that former President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were not at home when the tragedy occurred.
The state police stated that the Edgartown emergency services had been called about a “male paddleboarder who had gone into the water, appeared to struggle to stay on the surface briefly, and then submerged and did not resurface.” The police claimed that another paddleboarder on the pond with him at the time observed him go underwater.
Obamas Mourn Death of Beloved Chef
Mr. Campbell served as a sous chef for the Obamas while they were in the White House and continued to work with them after they left office. He is survived by his wife, Sherise, and their twin sons, Xavier and Savin.
Mr. and Mrs. Obama referred to Mr. Campbell in a statement from the time as “a truly wonderful man” and “a beloved part of our family.”
“When we first met him, he was a talented sous chef at the White House — creative and passionate about food, and its ability to bring people together,” they said. “In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter.”
The Obamas said that they had asked Mr. Campbell to remain with them as they prepared to leave the White House.
“He’s been part of our lives ever since,” they said. “Our hearts are broken that he’s gone.”
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