Barack and Michelle Obama paid tribute to late personal chef Tafari Campbell: 'The emptiness is hard'

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Barack and Michelle Obama paid tribute to late personal chef Tafari Campbell: 'The emptiness is hard'
Barack and Michelle Obama (left) paid tribute to the late Tafari Campbell (right), who worked as their personal chef.Drew Angerer/ISP POOL IMAGES/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images ; The White House
  • The Obamas paid tribute to late Tafari Campbell, who worked as their personal chef.
  • Campbell died while paddleboarding at the Obamas' Martha's Vineyard estate.
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Barack and Michelle Obama have paid tribute to their personal chef, Tafari Campbell, who died while paddleboarding near the couple's Martha's Vineyard estate in July.

Campbell, 45, worked at the Obama White House as a sous chef, and continued working as a personal chef for the Obama family after they left office.

Campbell had been visiting Martha's Vineyard and was near the Obamas' estate when he went missing while paddleboarding in Edgartown Great Pond on July 23, local officials said. Massachusetts State Police said they recovered Campbell's body the following morning approximately 100 feet from the shore.

Police said that the Obamas weren't present at their Massachusetts home at the time of the incident.

In social-media posts on Thursday, the Obamas shared photos of themselves with Campbell from their White House years.

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"Tafari Campbell showed us what true character looks like," Barack captioned his Instagram post. "He believed that actions speak louder than words. And he used his immense gifts to bring people together, provide comfort, and spread joy. I'll miss him every day."

"I will miss my friend, Tafari...the emptiness is hard," the former first lady wrote in a separate Instagram post. "But I promise to stay strong, keep living, and honor your legacy in every way possible. Rest in peace, my brother."

Barack and Michelle Obama paid tribute to late personal chef Tafari Campbell: 'The emptiness is hard'
A screenshot from a 2012 Obama White House video featuring sous chef Tafari Campbell.The White House

The Obamas previously released a statement sent to Insider on July 24 after Campbell had been found dead.

"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 read.

"That's why, when we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed," it continued. "He's been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he's gone."

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Campbell is survived by his wife Sherise and their twin boys, according to the statement.

The Massachusetts State Police said that the chief medical examiner's office "found no evidence that the death was suspicious" after a post-mortem examination, the Associated Press reported.

The Massachusetts State Police did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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