Have you done any of the following?
Turned your console off or dashboarded without clicking "Leave GTA Online" and returning to single player first?
Progressed without saving when the cloud servers are down without clicking x or square to retry to connect?
Created a temporary character?
1) I just completed a Gerald mission, and I was in a Loading screen (the one where you view the city from above and Rockstar gives you pictures with tips on it) when the servers died, which meant I was stuck in there forever. I waited 30 minutes on that loading screen as I went to fix my lunch, around 11 AM Eastern time Saturday October 5. The pictures even stopped cycling and just stuck on Lester Crest's picture with the tips about calling him for stuff. It never loaded. So I dashboarded finally after 30 minutes, as there are no buttons to press to escape the loading screen.
2) Nope. My character was working fine for 2 days, and it was obviously saved. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to log out, and come back in the next day.
3) No, no temp characters.