Medical Examiner Rules Whether or Not Obamas' Personal Chef's Death was an Accident


The death of the Obama family’s personal chef, Tafari Campbell has been ruled an accident.

The Washington Post reported that Timothy McGuirk, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, said the ruling was the culmination of an investigation by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Massachusetts.

However, he refused to provide any further details on the grounds that autopsy results are not released to the public under state law.

Campbell’s death occurred July 23 when Campbell was paddle boarding on Edgartown Great Pond, near the Obamas’ $12 million mansion in Martha’s Vineyard.

According to The Boston Globe, the 45-year-old fell into difficulty after losing his balance and falling into the water. As he was not wearing a life jacket or tied to the board, he struggled to stay afloat and eventually drowned.

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A female staff member of the Obama family was reportedly present at the scene but was unable to get help in time.

His death was mourned by the former president, who wrote on Instagram that he showed the world “what true character looks like.”


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“He believed that actions speak louder than words,” Obama wrote. “And he used his immense gifts to bring people together, provide comfort, and spread joy. I’ll miss him every day.”

Such sentiments were echoed by former first lady Michelle Obama, who also described Campbell as a “friend.”

“I will miss my friend, Tafari…the emptiness is hard,” she wrote. “But I promise to stay strong, keep living, and honor your legacy in every way possible. Rest in peace, my brother.”


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Campbell worked as sous chef at the White House during the Obama presidency and went to work for the family after he left office in 2017.

In a July 25 statement on Instagram, his widow, Sherise Campbell, also asked for prayers as she and her children dealt with their devastating loss.


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“My heart is broken,” she wrote in a July 25 statement on Instagram. “My life and our family’s life is forever changed. Please pray for me and our families as I deal with the loss of my husband.”

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