One month after Tafari Campbell passed away at 45 in a paddleboarding accident, medical officials have ruled that he died from accidental drowning.
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security told multiple outlets on Tuesday that Campbell’s loss was due to “submersion in a body of water.”
According to the Boston Herald, the manner of death is not considered suspicious and no external injuries were found. Campbell was reportedly not wearing a life vest nor was he tethered to the board.
Another paddleboarder saw Campbell lose his balance and fall into the water but could not reach him in time, per the Herald. Divers reportedly recovered Campbell’s body was about 100 feet from shore the following morning.
The former White House sous chef was paddleboarding near Martha’s Vineyard, where the Obamas have a residence. A rep for the couple confirmed that they were not home at the time of the incident. The former President and First Lady issued moving remarks in honor of Campbell’s memory and reflected on his presence in their lives.
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“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 statement read.
Campbell is reportedly survived by his wife and twin sons.
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