You never lose it. If you go into the character creation screen it's your fault.
Just wait till the cloud goes up or retry to you get it back
is this a troll?
how are you supposed to know the server is down and your character is gone until you log on?
Its all over the forums. The problem is the majority don't know so they just keep creating charcters.
The cloud is based off of sever info data. If it is down it will notify you. Either by entering and saying rockstar cloud services are down.
From there you either retry. Or you back off for a while until it's back up. If you press A and put in the slot 1 you have just signed your charcters death wish. He's gone. Your fault. Slot 2 seems to be kinda funky to so it's better to just do the jest two steps then ever create a temp.
Another notification is the orange circle. If it is not spinning on the bottom right afte X amount of minutes then the cloud is down. It's best to just exit the game via Leave Gta Online through the submenu ONLINE.
It's almost like an save button as it automatically saves. Wait till you reach the single player transition and either turn off your Xbox/ps3 and or dashboard.
NEVER. Ever just turn off your console.