Former US president Barack Obama’s chef Tuesday drowned in a lake in the Massachusetts resort community of Martha’s Vineyard near Obamas’ estate, authorities confirmed after identifying the body.
The individual in question was identified as Tafari Campbell, aged 45.
On Sunday night, a distressing incident was reported near the property owned by the Obamas at Edgartown Great Pond, involving a paddle boarder who appeared to be struggling and eventually submerged underwater.
As a result of this concerning situation, a two-day search operation was launched to locate him.
In a statement Monday, former president and former first lady Michelle Obama said that Campbell had been a sous chef at the White House, and came to work for the family after Obama completed his second term in 2016.
“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.”
Divers began searching for Campbell Sunday, after receiving a call that a male paddle boarder had gone into the water and then appeared to struggle before going under, police said.
He did not resurface, authorities noted.
Campbell’s body was recovered from Edgartown Great Pond Monday, the Massachusetts State Police said.
“The chef leaves behind his wife, Sherise, and twin sons,” the Obamas said.
“At the time of his death, Campbell, who lived in Dumfries, Virginia, was visiting Martha’s Vineyard, but the Obamas were not present,” the Massachusetts State Police said.
His death is being investigated by authorities, according to the police said.