Former US President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are mourning the loss of a beloved staff member, calling him “a wonderful person.”

Tafari Campbell, a former White House chef aide who later became the Obamas’ personal chef, died while rowing near the Obamas’ Katama mansion on Martha’s Vineyard. He was only 45 years old.

The Obamas, in a statement they issued, talk about his talent in the kitchen and beyond. “Tafari was a beloved member of our family. When we first met him, he was a talented assistant 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, funny, extremely kind man who made all of our lives a little brighter

Today, along with everyone who knew and loved Tafari, especially his wife Cheris and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin, we mourn the loss of a truly wonderful man,” the statement concluded.

The unfortunate Tafari Campbell had visited Massachusetts from his home in Virginia. The Obama family was not home at the time of the accident.

According to police, the search began Sunday night for “a man who was paddling in the water, who appeared to struggle for a while and then went under and did not resurface.”