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Wife of Obamas’ chef says her ‘heart is broken’ after husband dies paddleboarding at Martha’s Vineyard

The wife of former President Barack Obama’s personal chef took to social media to ask for prayers after her husband’s body was recovered from a pond near the Obamas’ Martha’s Vineyard estate.

Tafari Campbell, 45, of Dumfries, Virginia, was found Monday morning, a day after disappearing while paddleboarding in the waters of Edgartown Great Pond on Martha’s Vineyard. 

“My heart is broken. My life and our family’s life is forever changed,” Sherise Campbell posted on Instagram, along with a photo of her husband. “Please pray for me and our families as I deal with the loss of my husband.”

Sherise had earlier shared a post that said her company, Sweet Sage Baking and Catering, was not accepting orders due to “the recent tragedy in our family.”

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Tafari Campbell

Tafari Campbell was the Obamas’ personal chef.  (WH.gov)

“No words can express what I’m feeling #heartbroken,” she captioned the message.

Massachusetts State Police said Campbell was employed by the former president and was visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his passing. Barack and Michelle Obama were not present at the home at the time of the accident, MSP said. 

Edgartown Great Pond for missing paddleboarder

Authorities search Monday morning at Edgartown Great Pond for missing paddleboarder. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette)

The Obamas released a joint statement Monday detailing how they had asked Campbell to stay with them after leaving the White House and how their “hearts are broken.”

“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,” the statement said.

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Campbell’s body was found just before 10 a.m. Monday at a depth of about eight feet and 100 feet from the shore of Edgartown Great Pond. MSP divers recovered the body after Massachusetts Environmental Police officers used side-scan sonar from a boat to locate it, the agency said.

Martha's Vineyard

Edgartown police block off the road to Wilson’s Landing Monday. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette)

Authorities initially responded at 7:46 p.m. Sunday after receiving a call about a male paddleboarder who had struggled to stay above the water and then went under near Turkeyland Cove. Officials said the man did not resurface.

Another paddleboarder was on the pond with him at the time and witnessed him go under the water, according to authorities.

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Campbell is survived by his wife and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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