Tafari Campbell, the personal chef of the Obamas has died after a paddle boarding accident near their Martha's Vineyard estate.
According to CBS News, Campbell, 45, was in the area at the time of the incident but the Obamas were not at the residence. He was seen struggling in the water of Edgartown Great Pond on Sunday (July 23) night before he submerged but never resurfaced.
The same night, rescue teams were deployed that included divers and flight and boat crews. Campbell’s body was recovered on Monday (July 24) from Edgartown Great Pond “at approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about eight feet.”
"MSP Underwater Recovery Unit divers made the recovery after the victim’s body was located by Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers deploying side-scan sonar from a boat,” the Massachusetts State Police said in a news release.
In a joint statement, the Obamas expressed their tremendous sorrow for the passing of Campbell who they considered a member of the 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," the Obamas said in their joint statement. "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."
"That’s why, when we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed. He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone,” the statement continued.
"Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari — especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin — in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man," they added.
Campbell's death is being investigated by the State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police.
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