Obama Chef Tafari Campbell Found Dead At Pond Near Martha’s Vineyard Estate

Photo: Getty Images

A personal chef for the Obamas was found dead on Monday (July 24) in a pond near their Martha’s Vineyard estate, CNN reports.

Tafari Campell, 45, was visiting the south shore of Martha’s Vineyard when he went missing on Sunday (July 23) after going paddleboarding, according to Massachusetts State Police.

While paddleboarding, Campell went “into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface,” police said. Another paddleboarder witnessed him go under the water.

Police found Campell’s body about 100 feet from the shore at a depth of about 8 feet, per CNN.

In response to the tragedy, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama released a statement, saying Campbell was a “beloved part” of their family. The Obamas met Campbell while he was a sous chef at the White House, and he continued to work for the family after the former president’s term ended.

“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. 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 in a statement.“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.”

“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.”

Police said the Obamas weren’t at their Martha’s Vineyard residence at the time of Campbell’s passing. The State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police have launched an investigation into his death.

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