The wife of the Obama family’s personal chef who was found dead on Martha’s Vineyard over the weekend shared an emotional tribute to her late husband, saying that she will be “forever changed” by the tragic loss.
“My heart is broken. My life and our family’s life is forever changed,” Sharise Campbell wrote of her husband, Tafari Campbell, on Instagram early Tuesday.
The caption, which appeared below a smiling photo of Campbell posing in a kitchen, continued: “Please pray for me and our families as I deal with the loss of my husband.”
Earlier, on Monday night, Sharise shared that her company, Sweet Sage Baking and Catering, was not taking orders due to “the recent tragedy in our family.”
“No words can express what I’m feeling #heartbroken,” she wrote under the message.
Tafari Campbell, 45, was found unconscious in 8 feet of water about 100 feet from the banks of the Obamas’ estate on Edgartown Great Pond on Monday morning.
Authorities first responded to reports of a possible drowning involving a paddle boarder at the 79 Turkeyland Cove Road on Sunday evening.
Rescue efforts including divers, Coast Guard helicopters, and resources from multiple agencies, were subsequently launched overnight.
The former First Family was not home at the time of the tragedy, police confirmed.
Campbell – who, in addition to his wife, leaves behind two sons – was a sous chef in the White House kitchen during Obama’s terms in office, where he was known for brewing beer using honey from Michelle Obama’s bees.
When the Obamas left Washington, D.C., Campbell joined their personal staff.
“Tafari was a beloved part of our family,” Barack and Michelle Obama said in a joint statement Monday.
“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.”
An unidentified second person who was paddling with Campbell reported that the father of two was seen struggling in the water before submerging a final time.
Campbell was wearing black at the time, and did not have a life jacket.
Both his paddle board and his hat were found shortly after search efforts began.
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