A former White House chef has been found dead after going missing while paddle boarding near the summer home of ex-US president Barack Obama, Massachusetts State Police said.

Divers recovered the body of Tafari Campbell, who was employed as a personal chef by the Obama family, in a large lake on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.

Campbell, 45, had been paddle boarding Sunday, local time, when he disappeared under the water.

After leaving the White House, Obama purchased a multimillion-dollar waterfront home on the northeast US island, where he frequently vacationed with his family before and during his time in office.

Police responded to “a call for a male paddle boarder who had gone into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface,” the Massachusetts State Police said in a statement Sunday.

After a search into the night, the body was found the next morning and identified later in the day.

Campbell had worked as a sous chef in the White House before joining the Obamas as a personal cook, US media reported.

The former president and his wife Michelle Obama were not at home at the time of the accident, police said Monday.

Representatives for the Obama family did not respond immediately to an AFP request for comment.

In a statement carried by several US media outlets, the Obamas called Campbell “a beloved part of our family” and said that their “hearts are broken that he’s gone.”

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By Rahul

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