Tafari Campell, the 45-year-old personal chef of former president of the United States, Barack Obama is dead.
Campell lost his life in a tragic incident that occurred outside his Martha’s Vineyard estate.
The chef was said to have drowned while paddleboarding on a pond.
Authorities confirmed Monday afternoon that the body was found in 8-feet of water about 100 feet from the banks of the Obamas’ property on Edgartown Great Pond.
Campbell previously served as the sous chef in the White House kitchen while Barack Obama was in office, and was hired to be his personal staff when his term ended.
Emergency responders were dispatched to the 30-acre estate at 79 Turkeyland Cove Road Sunday evening after reports of a “possible drowning” in the water nearby.
Rescue efforts involving divers, Coast Guard helicopters, and multiple agencies’ resources were launched from the property overnight.
Campbell’s body was finally discovered around 10 a.m. Monday using sonar scanners deployed from a boat.
The Obamas were not home at the time of the incident, police confirmed.
“Tafari was a beloved part of our family,” the Obamas said in a statement Monday.
“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.”
Another person who had been paddleboarding on the pond when Campbell drowned said they saw him struggling in the water, then submerging without resurfacing.
He wore all black then, and did not have a lifejacket on.
His board and hat were discovered shortly after search crews arrived.
During his time in the White House, Campbell was known for brewing a beer using honey from bees Michelle Obama tended on the South Lawn, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.