Barack and Michelle Obama's personal chef has died in a paddle boarding accident.

Barack and Michelle Obama have paid tribute to their chef

Barack and Michelle Obama have paid tribute to their chef

The former United States President and his former First Lady have paid tribute to Tafari Campbell – who was their sous chef at the White House before he joined their own personal staff – died aged 45 on Monday (24.07.23) near their Martha's Vineyard home.

In a news release, Massachusetts State Police, said: "Mr. Campbell was visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his passing. President and Mrs. Obama were not present at the residence at the time of the accident."

Campbell was recovered by divers from a pond, with the search beginning later on Sunday (23.07.23) evening.

Police and fire agencies responded to a 911 call for "a male paddle boarder who had gone into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface".

In a joint statement, Barack and Michelle hailed Tafari as "a beloved part of our family".

They said: "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."

The State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police are conducting an investigation into his death, while Tafarai's loved ones are mourning his passing.

The Obama's added: "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."