Health Management

Obama Chef Dies While Paddleboarding on Martha’s Vineyard


A private chef to the Obama household died over the weekend after he was seen struggling within the water whereas paddleboarding close to the previous first household’s house on Martha’s Winery, the Massachusetts State Police mentioned on Monday.

The physique of the chef, Tafari Campbell, 45, of Dumfries, Va., who was visiting the Winery, was discovered simply earlier than 10 a.m. Monday about 100 toes from shore in Edgartown Nice Pond in water about eight toes deep by the Massachusetts Environmental Police. It had deployed sonar from a ship throughout an hourslong search that started Sunday night time and concerned a number of legislation enforcement companies.

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama weren’t house on the time of the accident, the state police mentioned. An investigation into the demise of Mr. Campbell, who had labored as a sous chef when the Obamas had been within the White Home and stayed on with them afterward, is being carried out by the state police and the Edgartown Police Division.

Simply earlier than 8 p.m. on Sunday, emergency companies from Edgartown responded to Edgartown Nice Pond close to Turkeyland Cove, the place Mr. Obama has a summer time house, for a name of “a male paddleboarder who had gone into the water, appeared to briefly battle to remain on the floor after which submerged and didn’t resurface,” the state police mentioned in an announcement.

One other paddleboarder was on the pond with him on the time and noticed him go below water, the police mentioned. The state police, the U.S. Coast Guard and a number of native fireplace items, together with divers, assisted within the search.

After a number of hours of looking out on Sunday night time, “the operation was paused to permit dive groups, flight crews and different responders to re-equip and assess subsequent steps,” the state police mentioned.

Chief Alex Schaeffer of the Edgartown Hearth Division told The Vineyard Gazette that island law enforcement officials and firefighters had carried out door-to-door searches after Mr. Campbell was reported lacking, and that firefighters had searched the pond’s shoreline by foot.

In an announcement, Mr. and Mrs. Obama known as Mr. Campbell “a really great man” and “a beloved a part of our household.”

“Once we first met him, he was a proficient sous chef on the White Home — artistic and enthusiastic about meals, and its skill to carry individuals collectively,” they mentioned. “Within the years that adopted, we bought to know him as a heat, enjoyable, terribly variety one who made all of our lives slightly brighter.”

The Obamas mentioned that they had requested Mr. Campbell to remain on with them as they had been on the point of depart the White Home.

“He’s been a part of our lives ever since,” they mentioned. “Our hearts are damaged that he’s gone.”

In line with their assertion, Mr. Campbell’s survivors embody his spouse, Sherise, and twin boys, Xavier and Savin.

The Obamas, longtime summer time guests to Martha’s Winery, purchased a secluded 30-acre property on the south shore in 2019 for $11.75 million. Their seven-bedroom, 6,900-square-foot-house fronts Edgartown Nice Pond with views of a barrier seaside and ocean. The nonetheless, brackish, coastal pond has a number of inlets which can be common amongst leisure boaters, particularly amongst kayakers and paddleboarders hoping to absorb a spectacular sundown.

The Nationwide Climate Service reported honest and clear situations on Sunday night time, with a excessive temperature round 70 levels.

Mr. Obama has visited the Winery since his days as an Illinois senator and spent a part of each August on the island for seven of the eight years he was in workplace, skipping 2012 throughout a re-election marketing campaign.

This isn’t the primary time a chef for a former American president has died in a sudden method. Walter Scheib, a former government chef through the administrations of Presidents Invoice Clinton and George W. Bush, drowned unintentionally in 2015 after going on a hike in Toas, N.M.

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