Former Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleader Dies of Sepsis After Stillbirth


Krystal Anderson, a former cheerleader for the Kansas City Chiefs, died of sepsis last week following a stillbirth, according to her family. She was 40 years old.

Anderson, known to her friends as “Krissy,” was hospitalized at five months pregnant and delivered her daughter, Charlotte Willow, after doctors were unable to locate a heartbeat, friends told FOX4 News. She developed a fever a day after the birth. Her condition worsened and she battled sepsis, which eventually led to organ failure. Despite being placed on life support and undergoing three surgeries, she died early Wednesday morning.

“I feel lost,” her husband, Clayton Anderson, told the station. “There’s a lot of people in this house and it feels empty.”

“Krissy was more than a wife, mother, daughter or friend; she was magic personified,” a GoFundMe in her name read. “Her radiant smile could light up the darkest room, and her sassy responses never failed to bring laughter and joy. She loved with her whole heart, leaving an imprint on everyone fortunate enough to know her.”

The fundraising page, set up to cover medical costs, funeral expenses, and to establish a legacy fund, had raised more than $67,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Chiefs acknowledged Anderson’s death on Thursday, tweeting that the franchise’s cheerleading squad was “deeply saddened” by the news. The team said that she had cheered with them in more than 100 games from 2006 to 2011, and again from 2013 to 2016.

“She was loved and adored by her teammates, fans, and strangers who were never strangers for long,” they said. “After her time as a cheerleader, she continued to share her love of dance and Chiefs Cheer by serving in an alumni role on gameday, practices, and at events.”

The team said it would share plans to further honor Anderson’s legacy at a later date.

In her post-NFL career, Anderson taught yoga and worked as a software engineer at Oracle Health. She “fiercely advocated” for both Black women in STEM and women’s health, according to an obituary. She also had a philanthropic streak, and worked with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of KC, the perinatal bereavement nonprofit Gabriella’s Little Library, and the Oracle Health Foundation.

“She was an absolute force for good. She made every room just light up,” her husband said.

While overall maternal deaths in the U.S. have steadily ticked up over the past two decades, Black women remain two to three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the risks to Black mothers exacerbated by implicit bias and medical racism, they are also more likely to experience life-threatening complications like preeclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, and blood clots.

““It’s, you know, we say, the best country in the world, right?” Anderson’s husband told FOX4 News. “Not if you’re a Black pregnant woman, it’s not—and that needs to change.”

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