The decade's most triggering comedy
A top chef for President Barack Obama’s White House kitchen staff was found dead on Monday after a paddle boarding accident occurred in the Edgartown Great Pond near the former president’s multi-million dollar mansion on Martha’s Vineyard, state police said.
Tafari Campbell, 45, who worked as a sous chef for the former first family, was visiting Martha’s Vineyard from Dumfries, Virginia, at the time of his passing, authorities said.
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Campbell went missing on Sunday evening after local authorities reportedly received a call from the Obama residence saying an adult male paddle boarder struggled to stay above the water’s surface until submerging and did not resurface, local media reported.
“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. … Another paddle boarder was on the pond with him at the time and observed him go under the water,” police said.
After several state and local emergency personnel, including the U.S. Coast Guard, arrived on the scene, Massachusetts State Police divers recovered Campbell’s body approximately 100 feet from the shore shortly before 10 a.m. on Monday. Authorities said they located Campbell’s body using a boat with an attached side-scan sonar system and aerial support from MSP and U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crews.
Obama, who purchased the nearly 7,000-square-foot Martha’s Vineyard estate in 2019 for $11.75 million, sits yards away from the pond where authorities discovered the former White House kitchen staff member, according to The Daily Mail.
“President and Mrs. Obama were not present at the residence at the time of the accident,” Massachusetts State Police said.
The Obama family said they are “grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.”
“Tafari was a beloved part of our family,” the family said. “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Campbell went to work for the Obamas after leaving the White House in 2017. He was known for brewing White House honey ale beer harvested from the South Lawn garden at the White House.