A 911 call was made from former President Barack Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard estate after a 45-year-old man struggled for his life.
Just yards away from Obama’s home, witnesses say a man was seen “struggling to stay afloat” before disappearing beneath the water’s surface. Rescuers, including the U.S. Coast Guard, searched and found the unnamed paddleboarder.
The missing person was eventually identified as the Obama family’s chef, Tafari Campbell. He was located in Edgartown Great Pond on the Massachusetts island.
BREAKING: Barack Obama's personal chef, Tafari Campbell, found dead after drowning near the former president's Martha's Vineyard home 🙏😔 pic.twitter.com/qPsI1cc51N
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) July 24, 2023
The underwater recovery unit found Campbell about 100 feet from the shore and 8 feet underwater.
In a statement, former President Obama said, “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,’ the Obamas said.
🚨We’ve now learned the man who drowned while paddleboarding in front of Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard estate was Tafari Campbell, their sous chef in the White House and current personal chef, but this raises some important questions:
Who else was with him? A 2nd paddleboarder was… pic.twitter.com/JK6xYoh7yA
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) July 24, 2023
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“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,” the Obamas said.
The Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit is investigating the incident.
Campbell’s wife Sherise said her life is “forever changed” by her husband’s passing. “My heart is broken,” she wrote alongside a photo of Campbell on Instagram.
“My life and our family’s life is forever changed,” she explained. “Please pray for me and our families as I deal with the loss of my husband.”
Campbell is survived by his wife and their twin boys.