Friends and fellow musicians today are mourning the loss of Jon Guthrie, 26, who died early Sunday when he lost control of his car on Beaverdam Road and crashed into a creek.

"Jon was probably the best bass player and one of the best guitar players around," said Erin Stagg, who played with Guthrie in the local bands Choptop and Dirty Sanchez and the Pancho Villas.

"Jon has been playing music since he was 12 or 13 years old, and was definitely an Athens staple," said Stagg, drummer for Music Hates You. "His death is a massive, massive loss to the Athens community, the music community, on just so many levels."

Guthrie was last seen at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, as he left RPM, a bar in downtown Athens, according to police. He was supposed to drive to the Winterville home of a friend, who left the bar soon before he did, but he never arrived.

After he didn't show up for work on Monday, his mother called her son's friends, and checked with local hospitals before she called police to report him as missing, police said.

Friends and family members formed a search party, and one of the friends found Guthrie's body, still strapped into the driver's seat of his car, upside down in a creek off Beaverdam Road near Weatherly Woods Drive, according to police.

Guthrie, along with his father, Michael, and uncle, Herb, made up the Michael Guthrie Band, formed by Michael Guthrie in the 1960s re-inventing the sounds of the British rock invasion he experienced while living in Germany.

Jon Guthrie began performing when he was 12, and toured with his father and uncle, playing in well-known venues like the Cavern Club in Liverpool and CBGBs in New York City.