Tafari Campbell, former White House chef who served during the Barack Obama administration, has died near the ex-president’s home after a drowning incident.
Campbell went missing while paddleboarding on Sunday night at Edgartown Great Pond, near the Obamas’ residence at Martha’s Vineyard.
Massachusetts State Police stated that a search began afterwards, and he was found on Monday morning in about eight feet of water and around 100 feet away from the shore. MSP also noted that the Obamas were not in the residence when the accident occurred.
Reacting to the news, Barack and Michelle issued a joint statement on Monday where they expressed sadness at the death of the “truly wonderful man.”
The Obamas also revealed that they had asked the “talented sous chef” to remain in their employ, even after they left the White House.
The statement read, “Tafari was 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. 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. 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.”