The Obamas are saying goodbye to a beloved member of their family.
According to new reports, the victim of the paddle boarding accident near the former first family’s Katama estate in Martha’s Vineyard has been identified. As People reports, Tafari Campbell has died at the age of 45.
Campbell was the Obamas’ personal chef after he was a sous chef at the White House during Barak’s time as president. Campbell’s body was discovered by divers in a pond near Edgartown Great Road.
In a statement shared by Massachusetts State Police, the department revealed that “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.” Campbell was discovered “approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about eight feet.”
It was revealed that Campbell “was visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his passing. President and Mrs. Obama were not present at the residence at the time of the accident.”
While it’s unclear exactly what caused the accident, People reports that police responded to a 911 call revealing that “a male paddle boarder who had gone into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface.” It was at that moment the search for Campbell began at around 7:45 p.m. on July 23.
In a statement mourning the loss of their beloved friend, the Obamas wrote, “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.”
They continued, “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.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and loved ones of Tafari Campbell during this truly difficult time.
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