Medical Examiner Makes Ruling In Obama's Personal Chef's Death

The Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner's Office determined this week that the death by drowning of the personal chef to the Obama family was accidental.

Tafari Campbell, 45, formerly served as a sous chef for Barack and Michelle Obama. At the time of his demise, he was in Martha's Vineyard, having traveled from Dumfries, Virginia, according to officials.

Timothy McGuirk, representing the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, informed The Washington Post on Tuesday that Campbell's death had been classified as accidental by the chief medical examiner. He also clarified that autopsy reports are not made public by their office.

The Boston Globe disclosed that during a late July incident, Campbell was “standing on his paddleboard when he lost his balance and fell off” into Edgartown Great Pond. The report continued, “He struggled to remain afloat before slipping beneath the water. Campbell was not wearing a life jacket and wasn’t secured to his board. Campbell’s body was found in about 8 feet of water.”

Authorities previously remarked, “A male individual on a paddleboard entered the water, briefly struggled to stay afloat, then sank and did not emerge again. ... A fellow paddleboarder witnessed him submerge.”

Massachusetts State Police divers, supported by other local and state emergency teams and the U.S. Coast Guard, retrieved Campbell's body almost 100 feet from the coast shortly before 10 in the morning. Officials utilized a side-scan sonar system mounted on a boat and aerial aid from both MSP and the Coast Guard's helicopters to locate him.

“President and Mrs. Obama were elsewhere and not at their residence when the accident took place,” the Massachusetts State Police noted.

Expressing their sorrow, the Obama family shared, “We are mourning the passing of an exceptional individual.”

They added, “Tafari was a cherished member of our family unit. During our first encounter, he was an impressive sous chef at the White House, exuding creativity and a passion for food and its community-building potential. Over time, his affable nature, genuine warmth, and unparalleled kindness added a spark to our lives.”

The family further expressed, “Hence, as our White House tenure came to an end, we invited Tafari to remain with us, to which he graciously consented. He has since been an integral part of our journey, and his absence deeply saddens us. Today, alongside all who were touched by Tafari's spirit – most notably his wife Sherise and their twin sons, Xavier and Savin – we mourn the departure of a truly remarkable man.”

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