This week, the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner found that the personal cook for the Obama family drowned by accident.
Tafari Campbell, 45, was working as a sous cook for Barack and Michelle Obama. He was from Dumfries, Virginia, and had been visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his death.
The chief medical examiner this week determined Campbell’s death to be an accident, according to Timothy McGuirk, a spokesperson for the Office of Public Safety, who spoke to The Washington Post. He also said that the office does not let the public see autopsy results.
When the event occurred in late July, according to the Boston Globe, Campbell was reportedly “standing on top of his paddleboard when he suddenly lost his footing and fell off” and into the Edgartown Great Pond. “He tried hard to stay on top of the water before going under. Campbell failed to put on a life jacket and was not tied to his board. Campbell’s body was discovered in water that was about 8 feet deep.”
At the time, police stated that “A man who went into the water on a paddle board seemed to struggle momentarily to stay on the top of the water. He then went under and did not come back up. At the time, he had been on the pond alongside another paddle boarder, who saw him go under the water.”
After many local and state rescue workers, including the U.S. Coast Guard, got to the scene, Massachusetts State Police divers found Campbell’s body about 100 feet from the water’s edge just before 10 a.m. The authorities stated they found Campbell’s body with the help of a boat equipped with a side-scan sonar device and helicopters from the MSP as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.
“President Obama and Mrs. Obama were not at home when the accident happened,” the Massachusetts State Police claimed.
The Obama family commented that they are “grieving over the passing of a truly amazing man.”
The family stated that “Tafari was a much-loved member of our family. When we first crossed paths with him, he was a skilled sous chef working in the White House. He was imaginative and enthusiastic about food and its capacity to unite people. He made all of our days a little bit brighter as we came to know him better in the years that followed. He was warm, entertaining, and incredibly kind.”
“Because of this, we asked Tafari to join us as we left the White House, and he graciously accepted. Since then, he has been a vital part of our lives, and his passing has left us heartbroken,” the statement read. “Today we mourn the passing of a truly amazing guy along with everybody that knew and loved Tafari, most especially his beloved wife Sherise, and both of their twin sons, Xavier and Savin.”