Asheton formed the group in Michigan in 1967
Iggy Pop and the Stooges have paid tribute to guitarist Ron Asheton who was found dead at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Tuesday.
The band said they were "shocked and shaken" by the news of the 60-year-old's death.
"He was a great friend, brother, musician, trooper. Irreplaceable. He will be missed," they said in a statement on the band's website.
Police said Asheton's death appeared to be from natural causes.
"For all that knew him behind the facade of Mr Cool and Quirky, he was a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person who always believed that people meant well even if they did not," the statement continued.
"As a musician Ron was The Guitar God, idol to follow and inspire others.
"That is how he will be remembered by people who had a great pleasure to work with him, learn from him and share good and bad times with him."
Iggy Pop called Asheton his 'best friend'
Lead singer Pop added that he was "shocked" at the loss of "my best friend".
Police sergeant Brad Hill said officers discovered the guitarist after being called to his home by an associate who had been unable to reach him for several days.
He added that there were no signs of foul play.
Asheton was an original member of the rock band fronted by Iggy Pop in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
His riffing featured on hits including I Wanna Be Your Dog, No Fun and Down On The Street.
The band - which also included Asheton's brother Scott on drums and the late Dave Alexander on bass - are on the shortlist to enter the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this April.