When Lynyrd Skynyrd was in need of a guitar player to replace recently departed Ed King, Cassie recommended her younger brother, Steve, who joined the band soon after.
On October 20, 1977, a Convair CV-300 carrying the band between shows from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, crashed outside of Gillsburg, Mississippi. The crash killed Ronnie Van Zant, Steve and Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, as well as pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray.
On February 15, 1979, Steve's and Cassie's mother, also named Cassie LaRue Gaines, was killed in an automobile accident near the cemetery where Steve and Cassie are buried. She was buried near her children.