The Obamas Speak Out After their Longtime Chef Was Found Dead Following Paddleboarding Incident: ‘Our Hearts Are Broken That He’s Gone’
Barack and Michelle Obama have officially spoken out about the death of their longtime chef Tafari Campbell.
In a joint statement sent to CNN, the Obamas said they first met Campbell when he was a sous chef at the White House and he continued to work for them following Barack’s eight-year term.
The Obamas said in their statement:
“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.”
Massachusetts State Police said 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.”
Tafari Campbell was reported missing early Sunday evening (Jul. 23) after going paddleboarding. Another paddleboarder was on the pond with him at the time and observed the chef go underwater. According to the eyewitness, Campbell went,
“into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface.”
Massachusetts Environmental Police officers found Campbell’s body around 10 a.m. Monday (Jul. 24) from Edgartown Great Pond. Police used a side-scan sonar from a boat to locate him. Police also said Campbell was found “approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about 8 feet.”
Several agencies assisted in the search and recovery of Tafari Campbell. The state police said those agencies included,
“Edgartown Fire and all other island fire departments; local police; State Police patrols, Air Wing, and detectives, the Dukes County Sheriff’s Department and the Coast Guard.”
Campbell was only 45. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Tafari Campbell’s wife took to social media to inform her customers that the family is not accepting orders at this time due to the tragedy. She also asked for prayers and support.
She later shared a picture of her husband with a heartfelt message expressing her grief.
“My heart is broken. My life and our family’s life is forever changed. Please pray for me and our families as I deal with the loss of my husband.. @cheftafari”
Our condolences go out to the Campbell family during this tragic time.