Obama's personal chef found dead in Martha's Vineyard pond
Tafari Campbell, 45, was eventually found at around 10 a.m. on Monday in Edgartown Great Pond about eight feet (2.4 meters) deep in the water and 100 feet (30 meters) from the shore
July 25, 2023 7:56am
Updated: July 25, 2023 7:57am
A personal chef to the Obama family was found dead over the weekend after falling to the water while paddleboarding near the family’s Martha’s Vineyard home, authorities said on Monday.
At around 8 p.m. on Sunday, police officers received a call reporting “a male paddleboarder who had gone into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface and then submerged and did not resurface” in Edgarton Great Pond in the Massachusetts resort community of Martha’s Vineyard.
A two-day-long search for the man ensued, which included divers and the use of sonar. The search was paused on Sunday evening “to allow dive teams, flight crews, and other responders to re-equip and assess next steps,” state police said.
Tafari Campbell, 45, was eventually found at around 10 a.m. on Monday in Edgartown Great Pond about eight feet (2.4 meters) deep in the water and 100 feet (30 meters) from the shore. He was not wearing a life jacket.
The Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit is investigating the circumstances that led to his death.
Campbell had worked as a sous chef at the White House for the Obamas during their presidency and continued working for them after they ended their second term in 2016.
Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were not at home at the time of the accident.
“Tafari was a beloved part of our family," the Obamas said in a joint statement. "He was ... 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."