Charlotte Tyler
August 28, 2023

Autopsy verifies cause of death of the Obamas' chef on Martha's Vineyard: Ruled an accident

According to new autopsy information reported on Tuesday, the death of the Obamas' personal chef on a lake near the former president's estate on Martha's Vineyard has been ruled an accident.

Tafari Campbell, 45, of Dumfries, Virginia, was last seen paddleboarding in Edgartown Great Pond on Martha's Vineyard on July 23, as Fox News reported.

His body was discovered the following morning after an exhaustive search near the Obama compound.

How the Chef Reportedly Died

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security verified to Fox News that Campbell drowned due to accidental submersion in a body of water.

This, according to Timothy McGuirk, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Campbell struggled to remain afloat near Turkeyland Cove, submerged at 7:46 p.m., and did not resurface, authorities asserted.

Another paddleboarder was on the reservoir at the time and saw him go underwater, which was the last time he was seen alive.

Campbell, who was visiting Martha's Vineyard at the time of his demise, was employed by the former president, as the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) confirmed. MSP also stated that Barack and Michelle Obama were not present at their Martha's Vineyard home at the time of the accident.

The Obamas' Statement

The Obamas issued a joint statement on July 24 explaining that they had urged Campbell to remain with them after Barack Obama left the White House and that their "hearts are broken."

"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," the statement said.

Campbell is survived by his wife, Sherise Campbell, as well as his two sons, Xavier and Savin.

"My heart is broken. My life and our family’s life is forever changed," Campbell said in a social media post cited by Fox News, which she posted longside a photo of her husband, after his death. "Please pray for me and our families as I deal with the loss of my husband."

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