On Thursday, Obama shared a picture of himself with Campbell and Campbell’s wife Sherise.
“Tafari Campbell showed us what true character looks like,” the former president wrote. “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.”
Campbell, 45, was paddleboarding on the evening of July 23 at Great Edgartown Pond when he appeared to struggle, went into the water, and never came out. Authorities searched for his body and recovered it from the water the next day.
A Virginia resident, Campbell was visiting Martha’s Vineyard — where the Obamas have a summer home — when he died. The Obamas were not at their island home when he died.
Campbell first worked as a sous chef at the White House under President George W. Bush. He was one of a few chefs who were asked to stay on when Obama took office.
The Obamas liked Campbell’s cooking so much they asked him to come work for them personally after Barack Obama left office.
“Tafari was a beloved part of our family,” the Obamas said in a previous statement.
Campbell leaves behind Sherise and their twin boys.