Tafari Campbell was a White House chef before coming on in the personal employ of the Obamas after President Obama left office in 2017.
Divers recovered his body just before 10 am from Edgartown Great Pond, on which the Obama family's $12 million mansion lies.
In the past, Campbell wrote the words 'still can't swim,' in the form of a hashtag on an Instagram post.
Another social media post showed the chef swimming, and seemingly doing so decently:
"Massachusetts State Police said Campbell was from Dumfries, Va., and '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,'" the Chicago Sun Times reported.
In a statement, the Obamas praised Campbell, saying "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.
"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.
"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."
The Obamas multi-million dollar vacation estate on Martha's Vineyard saw a massive response from emergency responders when accounts emerged of a man dressed in black, without a life-preserver, paddleboarding off the coast. He was seen to be struggling. Another paddleboarder had been with the male at the time and saw him go under the water.
The recovery was made around 100 feet from shore, where water was around eight feet in depth. Numerous agencies responded, including Edgartown Fire and all island fire departments, local police, State Police patrols, Air Wing, and detectives, the Dukes County Sheriff’s Department, and the Coast Guard.This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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