Husband Of Kansas City Chiefs Cheer Alum Speaks Out On Wife's Death After Stillbirth

Clayton Anderson, the husband of longtime Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleader, Krystal Anderson, who died last month after giving birth, is speaking out about his wife’s death.

In an interview with ABC News posted on Thursday, Clayton Anderson discussed what it has been like mourning the loss of his wife, who was Black, as well as the importance of spreading awareness about the Black maternal mortality crisis in the U.S.

Krystal Anderson died at 40 of cardiac arrest caused by the full-body infection known as sepsis on March 20 in a Kansas hospital, after giving birth to a stillborn child, according to Clayton Anderson. The former Chiefs cheerleader previously had a stillbirth in 2022.

“She was my world, … my best friend and obviously the love of my life and mother to our children,” Clayton Anderson said of his late wife.

He also addressed the racial disparities in maternal health outcomes, and the way health care systems treat high-risk pregnancies overall.

“Krystal is 40, and she’s Black, and we’d had a loss before — but even then, [doctors] say, you know, you can’t start a plan with maternal fetal medicine or the high-risk maternity doctors until you get to week 14,” he told ABC News.

He later continued: “All pregnancy is high-risk ... when you’re a woman of color, or you’re older, and they should be treated that way from the start.”

“Expecting somebody who’s had a loss to go four weeks in between seeing their care providers, … that’s the same protocol that’s done for a 23-year-old that’s very healthy,” he added, referencing his wife’s situation. “It can’t be a one-size-fits-all” approach.

AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, where Krystal received care, released the following statement to HuffPost: “Our hearts are hurting in this tragic situation. We along with the independent providers who deliver care in our facilities strive to provide the best possible care to every patient based on their specific needs and circumstances.”

“We extend our prayers and support to family members and loved ones experiencing the devastating loss of precious life,” the statement continued.

Clayton told ABC News that his late wife underwent a procedure when she was 16 weeks pregnant called cervical cerclage, which helps keep the “cervix closed during pregnancy to prevent premature birth,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. He said her next scheduled visit had been set for four weeks later.

But after Krystal experienced complications at 20 weeks, doctors placed her on partial bed rest and made a plan to admit the former cheerleader into a specialized hospital unit to handle what’s known as a “periviable” birth at 22 weeks. But the couple reportedly rushed to the hospital during Krystal’s 20th week of pregnancy, after she began to experience back pain.

A doctor determined on March 16 that no heartbeat could be detected in the fetus. Krystal developed a fever several hours later. The sepsis prompted organ failure, and she died despite undergoing three surgeries, Clayton told the outlet.

Last month, Clayton told Fox affiliate WDAF-TV in Kansas City that he felt “lost” after Krystal’s death.

“There’s a lot of people in this house and it feels empty,” he said at the time.

In addition to cheerleading, Krystal worked as a software engineer, where she was awarded a patent for her work “developing software that assesses the risk of post-partum hemorrhage,” according to her obituary.

Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, according to the CDC. The maternal mortality crisis affects Black parents across education, economic and care levels, Dr. Tracey Sylvester, an OB-GYN in California, told HuffPost in August.

The official Instagram account for the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders released a statement mourning Krystal’s death last month.

The group said Krystal had cheered for the organization for over 100 games from 2006-2011 and 2013-2016.

“She was loved and adored by her teammates, fans, and strangers who were never strangers for long,” the statement read, later adding, “We will miss her kind spirit, joyful energy, and her sparkle.”