Rockstar has confirmed today in a statement that GTA Online characters lost as a result of the games' troubled launch, will not be restored.
The statement was posted on the game's support page. Rockstar said, "For those asking about their lost characters or rank, those will not be able to be restored so we sincerely hope that this cash stimulus we’re giving out this month will help you get back on your feet or to make your new life in Los Santos & Blaine extra sweet.
The cash stimulus referred to is GTA$500,000 that will be deposited to player's accounts. The sum will be deposited in two increments to avoid inflating the in-game economy.