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Ex-White House chef found dead in pond

Tafari Campbell, a former White House chef who was working for the Obama family, was found dead in a pond on the south shore of Martha’s Vineyard island in the state of Massachusetts, the police confirmed.

A statement issued by the Massachusetts State Police on Monday night said that the 45-year-old “Campbell was employed by former President Barack Obama and was visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his passing”.

The Obamas were not present at the residence at the time of the accident, it said. 

According to the police, Campbell was reported missing on Sunday evening after going paddleboarding.

He went “into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface”, the state police said in an earlier release. 

Another paddleboarder on the pond with him at the time witnessed him go under the water, the release added.

The Massachusetts Environmental Police officers recovered Campbell’s body shortly before 10 a.m. on Monday from Edgartown Great Pond.

Police used a side-scan sonar from a boat to locate him and divers from the department’s underwater recovery unit recovered his body, which was about 100 feet from the shore at a depth of about 8 feet, CNN reported.

In a joint statement, Barack and Michelle Obama said they had first met Campbell when he worked as a sous chef at the White House. 

He continued to work for the couple after the former President’s eight-year term.

“Tafari was a beloved part of our family… 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,” the joint statement added.

The State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police are investigating Campbell’s death, state police said.

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