Tafari Campbell, the personal chef of the Obama family, tragically passed away due to accidental drowning while paddleboarding in a Martha’s Vineyard lake. The autopsy has confirmed that his cause of death was “submersion in a body of water”, and it has been ruled as an accident by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Massachusetts.
The autopsy results for Campbell have not been disclosed publicly, in accordance with state policy, as confirmed by Timothy McGuirk, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
Campbell, aged 45 and a former White House kitchen staff member, was paddleboarding in Martha’s Vineyard on July 23, where the Obamas have a summer residence, when he tragically lost his balance, submerged underwater, and did not resurface, according to the New York Post.
Campbell was not wearing a life vest and was not connected to his paddleboard, according to an eyewitness. Despite rescue attempts, he could not be saved. Campbell had come to Martha’s Vineyard to visit family, and the Obamas were not present when the incident occurred. The initial State Police investigation found no signs of foul play or trauma on his body.
The Obamas released a joint statement expressing their grief over Campbell’s passing. They described him as a cherished member of their family who initially worked as a talented sous chef at the White House and later became a warm, kind, and fun person who brightened their lives.
The Obamas shared that Campbell was invited to stay with them even after leaving the White House, and he graciously accepted. They expressed their deep sadness at his passing and extended their condolences to his wife Sherise and their twin sons, Xavier and Savin. In separate Instagram posts, Barack and Michelle praised Campbell as a dear friend with remarkable talents and gifts.
Campbell, originally from Dumfries, Virginia, had a notable culinary career. He began as a sous chef at the White House during President George W. Bush’s tenure and continued to serve through both of President Obama’s terms. Subsequently, he became the personal chef for the Obama family.